What is one of the happiest Indian festivals of the year was celebrated in Willoughby this past Saturday.
An open area at the Muriel Arnason Library transformed into a dance hall for a brief time on Saturday as Langley's South Asian community celebrated Diwali with the public.
Leading the bhangra dance was Dr. Sarwan Singh Randhawa, the community librarian at the library located at the Township Civic Building.
Diwali, which falls on Nov. 13 this year, is known as the festival of lights and falls on the last day of the last month of the Lunar Calendar. It is one of the happiest of the Indian festivals and is celebrated not only all over India, but in most parts of the world. Diwali is held in memory of mythological and historical stories which say that the evil demons were slain by many incarnations of God.
The celebration is marked by the lighting of lamps in every courtyard and the bursting of crackers.
Saturday's local event marked the Township's ninth annual Diwali celebration.
More than 450 participants enjoyed henna, crafts, and face painting, learned a few steps of the Punjabi folk dance bhangra, took part in sari wrapping demos, entered the draw, and ate ethnic food in a festive atmosphere.
Township Mayor Jack Froese along with councillors Grant Ward, Steve Ferguson, Kim Richter, Charlie Fox, Bob Long, and Bev Dornan attended. They were joined by Township Libraries Manager David Thiessen, and Muriel Arnason's daughter Petrina Arnason
"The event was very successful," Randhawa said. "I think it was the best we ever had at Muriel Arnason Library."
The participants danced to Punjabi beats, led by a professional dance instructor Avnit Garcha.
Randhawa said artists Amardeep Kaur Gill and Shazia Sehgal "did a fabulous job for applying Henna," adding that the sari wrapping demonstrations by Harpreet Kaur Ahluwalia and Sonam Walia were also very well received.
Children enjoyed face-painting, painted diyas, or clay lamps, created lanterns, and did a variety of crafts.
Food included samosas and pakoras.
Performers and sponsors were honoured during the festival, and prize draws were popular.
"Participants and guests alike were pleased to take part in such a lively and entertaining local event," said Randhawa, who, at the end of the program, thanked the audience, performers, and volunteers.