Diwali, also known as Deepavali, is one of the most celebrated festivals in India and among Indian communities around the world. This vibrant and spiritually significant festival is a time of joy, unity, and dazzling displays of light.
Diwali, which translates to “Festival of Lights” is celebrated over five days, typically falling in October or November. It symbolizes the triumph of light over darkness and good over evil, and the lighting of lamps and candles signifies the removal of ignorance and the spread of knowledge. The festival holds great significance in various religious and cultural contexts, and while its primary celebration is rooted in Hinduism, Diwali is also observed by Sikhs, Jains, and Buddhists for various reasons.
Homes and public spaces are adorned with colourful rangoli (intricate designs made with coloured powders or flower petals), candles and oil lamps called diyas. Diwali is a time when people gather in temples and gurdwaras, families come together to exchange gifts and share feasts, and traditional sweets like ladoos and jalebis are prepared and enjoyed.
In 2023, Surrey’s official celebration is taking place on November 5 with a festival at Civic Plaza.
Here are a few places and events around Surrey to celebrate Diwali this year.
Diwali Downtown Surrey
Head to Surrey City Hall for a family-friendly afternoon of unique musical and dance performances on November 5. This year’s celebration theme is that of an Indian wedding to commemorate the organizer’s 20th anniversary of curating Diwali events in BC. Experience the excitement of a Baraat (joyful wedding day procession) and Shaadi (wedding ceremony)! Immerse yourself in lively performances by South Asian musicians and dancers, and be a part of the festivities by wearing sparkling attire. Enjoy a cup of masala or ginger chai while viewing the colourful Rangoli displays, and visit the Diwali-themed arts and crafts zone.
Join in an incredible evening of joy, lights, and festivities at the Diwali Celebration in the Ultimate Banquet Hall on Friday, October 20. The hall will be lit with candles, beautiful rangoli art and traditional Diya decorations. Whether you are familiar with Diwali or curious to learn more about Indian culture, everyone is welcome to this celebration of unity and happiness. Tickets available here.
Student’s Diwali Night
Experience the magic of Diwali with mesmerizing performances, lively music and delicious food. Let the vibrant colours and sparkling lights illuminate your night at the Empire Banquet Hall on November 10. Tickets available here.
Where to Shop
If you want to celebrate Diwali at home, here are some suggestions for where to find Diwali ingredients and supplies like diyas (lamps), river sand, flowers and decor:
Payal Plaza is home to the largest selection of Indian shopping in the province. Spanning 4 city blocks, the plaza has a shop for everything that you might need to celebrate Diwali at home. Look for traditional clay diyas (oil lamps), candles, coloured sand, wall hangings, dried (or fresh) flowers, dried fruit and nuts.
Surrey Super Market – Located in Payal Plaza, home to the largest selection of Indian shopping in the province, Surrey Super Market is a palace of Indian dry goods and produce. Visit the bulk section for a myriad of spices and don’t miss the tea aisle.
Indo-Fiji Supermarket – shop for an amazing selection of Indian spices and ingredients and pick up decorative coloured river sand for making Rangoli patterns.
Big Bazaar – A local neighbourhood go-to place for everything from spices to fresh local and ethnic produce to household goods. So many items are packed into this local shop for you to discover and explore!
World of Graze – Order a stunning grazing board or individual grazing boxes. Available in a variety of sizes (depending on how many people you want to serve), the grazing boxes are packed with local meats and cheese, condiments, crudité, and seasonal snacks.
In India, sweets are more than just treats – they’re an integral part of the culture and are purchased for every occasion, big or small. Demand for sweets will be high in the lead-up to Diwali, so we recommend pre-ordering if possible. Some of our favourite sweets are Jalebi, a bright orange crunchy sweet that is spiral-shaped (similar to a funnel-cake) and soaked in saffron sugar syrup; Gulab Jamun, a soft sphere of fried dough (similar to a doughnut hole), drenched in a rose-flavoured syrup, and ladoo, which are round, sweet balls made from a variety of flours and ground seeds. Here are a few of our favourite sweet shops:
Aggarwal Sweets (8158 128 Street)
Anmol Sweets (8363 128 Street)
Kesari Indian Sweets & Treats (1990 152 Street)
Madhur Sweets (8120 128 Street)
Prabu Sweets (7035 128 Street)
Tokyo Mithaiwala (12950 80 Avenue)
Feature photo courtesy of World of Graze.