In a historic development, the city of White Rock has decided to hold annual Diwali festival every year.
The announcement was made by the White Rock mayor Wayne Baldwin at a Diwali event organised by the International Community Celebrations Society of British Columbia last weekend in the town which is close to the US-Canada border.
Recognising Diwali as an important festival of the Indo-Canadian community, it has been resolved to hold annual celebrations on the first Saturday of October each year, according to Baldwin.
Federal minister Jason Kenney was also in attendance when the announcement was made. He acknowledged that with the growing Indo-Canadian population and its contribution to Canada, Diwali has now become a part of the mainstream culture.
Notably, Diwali is also celebrated in the Canadian parliament.
Aditya Mohan, one of the key organisers told HT that the announcement by Baldwin has sent a very positive message to the South Asian community and this shows how society has embraced Indian culture with open arms. He estimated that more than 70,000 people participated in the event.
A Diwali cake was cut on the occasion. For nine hours there were performances by the artistes near the White Rock beach. This was followed by fireworks. Special shuttle buses were arranged to pick up drivers from parking lots located far away from the venue.
Among other prominent figures who attended the celebrations were former Surrey city councilor Judy Higgnibotham-who is now a Federal Liberal candidate for South Surrey-White Rock, MLA Gordon Hogg and the International Community Celebrations Society president Moti Bali.