VARIOUS LOCATIONS: Diwali, one of the biggest celebrations on the Indo-Canadian calendar, kicks off next week throughout the city. The upcoming holiday — also known as the festival of lights —marks Lord Rama’s victory over the demon Ravana, and the Hindu god’s subsequent homecoming after years of exile. Diwas, or small oil lights or candles, are lit as a symbol of the triumph of light over darkness, or of good over evil, and fireworks galore are also set off in celebration. People celebrate the multi-day holiday in different ways but generally speaking it involves spending time with loved ones, celebrating with dance, music and storytelling, rangoli designs, mehndi hand-painting and, not unlike Halloween, eating lots of sweets.
The South Asian Family Association are putting on free preparation workshops at Sunset Community Centre (6810 Main St.) Sunday from noon to 3 p.m. with pakora-making, card-making, sari-wrapping demos, diya decorating workshops, mehndi demos, chai-making, and classical South Asian dance demos. Other community workshops are being put on at the West End Community Centre (870 Denman St.) Nov. 1 from 4 to 6 p.m., Renfrew Park Community Centre (929 East 22nd Ave.) Nov. 2 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., South Vancouver Neighborhood House (6470 Victoria Dr.) Nov. 4 from noon to 3 p.m., and Thunderbird Community Centre (2311 Cassiar St.) Nov. 8 from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.
The citywide Diwali Fest celebrates its 10th anniversary this year and is spread out Oct. 29 to Nov. 8. Highlights include the IndiGlam Fashion Social Tuesday night at Scotiabank Dance Centre (677 Davie St.), free music and dance at the main branch of the Vancouver Public Library on Wednesday, and Diwali Downtown next Saturday (Nov. 2) at the Roundhouse Community Centre (181 Roundhouse Mews) from 3 to 8 p.m. Visit diwalifest.ca for more information.
EAST SIDE SOMEWHERE: The reports of the death of the Parade of Lost Souls have been greatly exaggerated. After more than a quarter century hosting the sprawling, community-driven festival inspired by Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead), the Public Dreams Society are handing over the reigns to the creative souls of Dusty Flowerpot Cabaret to carry the hugely popular East Van festival. Keeping with tradition, the Oct. 26 evening event’s location will be announced at the stroke of midnight the night before at publicdreams.org and via social media. Post-parade festivities co-produced by the hard-working party-planners of the Work Less Party will take place at the Hanger (577 Great Northern Way) featuring performances by C.R. Avery, The Tailor, Briden, DJ Prom, Manhai and Matty from Life.
GRANVILLE ISLAND: The Vancouver International Writers Festival wraps up this Sunday, with tickets still available for a number of events taking place mostly on Granville Island. Up-close-and-personal encounters with best-selling heavyweights such as Margaret Atwood, Douglas Coupland and Will Self have long since sold out but there are still tickets available for talks by notorious Drunk Mom author Jowita Bydlowska, renowned Quebecois playwright Michel Tremblay, Canadian comedy icon Colin Mochrie, investigative journalists Eric Schlosser and Alan Weisman, and lots more. For more information, visit writersfest.bc.ca.
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