Laurier Brantford hosted its first ever Diwali celebration with Conestoga College at the Brantford Convention Center on Monday, November 5. 

The event was hosted by Laurier Brantford’s South Asian Student Alliance (SAA), the Punjabi Students’ Association (PSA), the international office and Conestoga College.  

“The purpose of hosting this event is to create a cultural awareness,” said Gurleen Lall, a fourth-year criminology student at Laurier Brantford and the president of the PSA. “[It’s] also for the international students, both at Laurier and Conestoga, to feel comfortable.”  

Jenna McClymont, International Programs Assistant at the Laurier international office, said, “With our diverse student population, we want to represent more of the cultures we are seeing in our community and a chance to share new cultures with our students”. 

The celebration was a sold-out event that was well attended by about 400 people from Laurier Brantford, Conestoga and the Brantford community at large. It was a night to make merry as there was a lot of cultural food from South Asia, such as rice, butter chicken, naan, samosas and desserts that included gulab jamun and a sweet mango ice cream.  

The celebration was catered by Market St. Kebab & Grill. “At home, we celebrate Diwali with our families with fireworks and fire crackers,” said Palwinder Kaur, an international student studying community and social service management at Conestoga College. 

Traditional Garba dances were performed by Conestoga College’s Gurajati and Bhangra associations, followed by a Bollywood rendition by the executives of Laurier Brantford’s SAA. 

“This is proof of the growing diversity in Canada. We should be proud of that,” said Talha Naeem, a fourth-year digital media and journalism student at Laurier Brantford. 

“When I came to Laurier Brantford in first year, it was hard to fit in because there weren’t a lot of South Asians around,” said Nikita Nieshwar, president of SAA. “This year, there are more people showing interest from both Laurier and Conestoga.” 

“We expect fun and celebration because we are missing our home,” said Kaur. The event was full of color as attendees came dress in their vibrant traditional garments to match the gorgeous chandeliers that lit the room.  

Following the Diwali celebration that night, a Diya Painting Night would be held on Monday, November 12 at 5:30p.m. in the multipurpose room. This would be an opportunity to paint and customize a Diya candle, which is a lamp that is lit to ward off darkness. It is native to India and is used religious by people of the Sikh, Jain, Buddhist and Hindu religions. 

Diwali is a celebration of light that is held for five days. It is an event that celebrates good over evil and falls between the months October and November based off of the Hindu calendar. 

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