As many British Columbians look forward to observing Diwali this week, the Surrey Board of Trade is urging all residents and businesses to adhere to health and safety protocols.

“Do not gather inside or outside of your home or business to celebrate Diwali,” said Anita Huberman, CEO, Surrey Board of Trade. “With the important event of Diwali occurring this weekend on Saturday, November 14, it is vital that everyone remain vigilant, social distance, and do not congregate in groups at the temple or visit each other’s homes. If everyone does their part and adheres to the Public Health Office’s orders, we can save lives and our economy.”

Many people deliver sweets or other gifts to their loved ones on Diwali and light a candle – or diya. Instead, please consider the following:

·      Light the diya at your home with those that you live with;

·      Instead of giving gifts or sweets, donate to a charity or the temple in the name of your loved ones; and,

·      Celebrate with your loved ones virtually by using digital technology.

“Although Saturday’s provincial health orders created some confusion, the fact is that this regionalized approach will help bend the curve of the virus. We must do all that we can to adhere to health and safety orders.”

“If we do not adhere to these restrictions, people will continue to lose their lives, lose their job, businesses will shut down, the economy will go into a self-induced depression. It is time to get serious.”

If you see people gathering in crowds or groups that disobey the PHO orders, please do your part and report them. We need to work together in order to bend the curve.

To report an urgent situation in Surrey where an individual or business is suspected of being in non-compliance with Public Health Orders, please report the violation by contacting Surrey Bylaw Call Centre at 604-591-4370 or the Surrey RCMP non-emergency line at 604-599-0502. Less urgent violations can be reported online using the Report a Problem tool:

Diwali, or Dipawali, is India’s biggest and most important holiday of the year. The festival gets its name from the row (avali) of clay lamps (deepa) that Indians light outside their homes to symbolize the inner light that protects from spiritual darkness. This festival is as important to Hindus as the Christmas holiday is to Christians.

Over the centuries, Diwali has become a national festival that’s also enjoyed by non-Hindu communities. For instance, in Jainism, Diwali marks the nirvana, or spiritual awakening, of Lord Mahavira on October 15, 527 B.C.; in Sikhism, it honors the day that Guru Hargobind Ji, the Sixth Sikh Guru, was freed from imprisonment. Buddhists in India celebrate Diwali as well.

Traditionally, Diwali is celebrated over 5 days – but as you can see below the normal celebrations need to stop and be modified this year. 

DAY ONE: People clean their homes and shop for gold or kitchen utensils to help bring good fortune.
DAY TWO: People decorate their homes with clay lamps and create design patterns called rangoli on the floor using colored powders or sand
DAY THREE: On the main day of the festival, families gather together for Lakshmi puja, a prayer to Goddess Lakshmi, followed by mouth-watering feasts and firework festivities. FAMILIES MUST NOT GATHER
DAY FOUR: This is the first day of the new year, when friends and relatives visit with gifts and wish the best for the season. NO VISITING
DAY FIVE: Brothers visit their married sisters, who welcome them with love and a lavish meal. NO VISITING

Anita Huberman