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Sold-out first-of-its-kind Diwali gala a reflection of Tri-Cities' diversity

The Festival of Lights is set for the end of October and a local party will encourage the community to dance for joy.
[From left to right] Sumit Rawla, Shubhi Rawla, Akshita Puri and Mithila Karnik are organizing the Tri-Cities first-ever regional Diwali celebration, set for Oct. 29, 2022.

About a month away, and the event is already sold out.

The Tri-Cities is set to celebrate the Festival of Lights — better known as Diwali — with a gala in Port Moody next month, said to be the first of its kind in the region.

The holiday is considered the biggest and most important on the calendar for the Indian community as it symbolizes a victory for good against evil, or, in this case, light against darkness.

It's also described as "an honourific celebration" for Lord Rama, his defeat over evil and his return to his homeland after 14 years in exile.

The upcoming Diwali Gala is said to be the first big local celebration of the holiday for most residents as the COVID-19 pandemic forced organizers to cancel, postpone or place certain restrictions on gatherings.

"But circa 2022, our spirits are high," said Coquitlam resident Shubhi Rawla in a news release sent to the Tri-City News, one of four people taking lead on the Oct. 29 party.

"We are ready to celebrate big and with the increasing interest in the community to come together; we decided to facilitate an event on a larger scale."

And the Port Moody Recreation Complex should serve as the right backrop as Diwali Gala 2022 has sold out.

Co-organizer Mithila Karnik added this reflects the community's dedication to diversity and that's ready to come together safely to dance the night away.

"Our singular aim is to increase visibility and diversity, promote inclusivity and unleash a grand party that will be our very own annual property for a Diwali Gala debut at Port Moody of the Tri-Cities," Karnik said. She's also running in the 202 municipal election as a candidate for Port Coquitlam city council.

Sumit Rawla and Akshita Puri are the other co-organizers for the Diwali Gala, which will also feature dance and musical performances from local groups, as well as a variety of food and drinks.

Port Moody-Coquitlam MP Bonita Zarrillo, Port Coquitlam Mayor Brad West and School District 43 (SD43) trustee Jennifer Blatherwick are some of the notable dignitaries set to attend.

For questions and information about the celebration, you're encouraged to email