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Diwali lights up Cold Lake Agriplex

In front of a sold-out crowd, a variety of cultural performances took place at the Cold Lake Agriplex to celebrate Diwali and multiculturalism in the Lakeland on Nov. 19.

COLD LAKE – A Festival of Lights held at the Cold Lake Agriplex brightened the spirits of Lakeland residents who made the trek to celebrate Diwali with the Lakeland Multicultural Association on Nov. 19. 

Roughly 430 people came together to celebrate the region’s diversity through dance, culture and food at the sold-out event. 

This year, Diwali was officially celebrated on Oct. 24, but as many of the organizers of the Cold Lake Diwali Night take part in the five-day festival with friends and family, the community event was held later to allow for personal celebrations, explained Kunal Jadav, a volunteer organizer of Diwali Night. 

“This was the first in-person event after a long time, and we had performers coming from places as far as Calgary and Regina, so lining up those logistics we needed extra time,” Jadav told Lakeland This Week. 

The first Diwali Night planned by the association took place in 2018, making this year’s event the fifth year the multicultural organization has hosted the Festival of Lights in the Lakeland. 

In 2020 and 2021, not even the pandemic could dim the celebration of Diwali as organizers pivoted and found a way to move the event online and still provide food to some Lakeland residents. 

“We suspended the in-person portion. We did the event virtually so that people were able to see the performances,” explained Jadav. Food was also available during that period, through preorders in Cold Lake and St. Paul. 

Throughout the challenges faced over the last few years, he said, “Our focus with the multicultural association is to showcase the diversity and multiculturalism in the Lakeland region. Showcasing different cultures is part of this Diwali night and shows the inclusivity of the event.” 

The event included performances that ranged from Indian Classical dance to Indigenous Jingle Dress dance, to Chinese Fan dance, Punjabi Folk dance, and Ukrainian dance. 

Jadav added, “Many cultures and religions in India, most of them, celebrate Diwali. So that's also one of the aspects of Diwali is the inclusivity and the [commonality] with other religions that relate to the theme of victory of light over darkness, and good over evil.” 

The family-friendly evening included a henna station, kids crafts table, silent auction, an authentic Indian merchant table, a scavenger hunt and a photobooth. 

Through the various activities, the Lakeland Multicultural Association was able to fundraise over $100 for the Lakeland Humane Society. 

Jazmin Tremblay

About the Author: Jazmin Tremblay

Jazmin completed a minor in journalism at Hanze University in the Netherlands and completed her Communication Studies degree from MacEwan University with a major in journalism.
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