Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, celebrates the triumph of good over evil. The Lakeland Multicultural Association (LMA) held its annual Diwali festival in Cold Lake on November 19 and celebrated the rich diversity of people who call the region home.

While the festival reflected its Indian origins with colourful entertainment and delicious food, the LMA reached out to several cultures to provide a variety of customs and entertainment. Indian, Ukrainian, Chinese, and Indigenous dancers performed, as did a Mexican mariachi band.

According to LMA volunteer Pavan Bhojapoojary, the organization’s mission is diversity and inclusion. He said Diwali was an opportunity “to give everyone an opportunity and a platform to showcase their individuality.”

“The Lakeland region’s population is so diverse and we have very few events throughout the year that recognize and celebrate the diversity,” Bhojapoojary said. “So that’s the whole idea of LMA and that’s why we wanted to bring all other performances in for Diwali night.”

Performers came from Edmonton, Calgary, Lloydminster, and Regina.

The LMA also issued a Dance Challenge to local elementary schools. Cold lake Elementary School and  École Voyageur were the two finalists, with Cold Lake Elementary’s Grade 3 class winning the competition.

Sponsorships and silent auction donations made the event possible, Bhojapoojary said. He said the LMA is looking forward to staging more events in the future.

The LMA is always looking for board members and volunteers for its activities throughout the region. Call (780) 545-9593 for more information.

Music, dance, food, and festivity brought the festival of lights to life in Cold Lake.
Photos courtesy Benjamin Smith, BenSmithMedia