UBC museum shines spotlight on Diwali

 Renowned Museum of Anthropology celebrating with music, dancing and workshops

For the first time in the rich history of UBC’s world renowned Museum of Anthropology, the Diwali festival of lights will radiate for the public to attend and celebrate.

In recent years, the museum has served a lunch for staff to learn about Diwali, a significant annual event in the Hindu calendar, an event celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and some Buddhists.

But thanks to the persistence of MOA volunteer Kamshi Kanavathi, along with the assistance of administration manager Salma Mawani, the museum has placed Diwali in the spotlight for everyone to come, celebrate and learn.

“Diwali is a significant cultural event around the world,” says Mawani. “And, of course, we like to celebrate different cultures at the museum. It’s what the museum does. When this show got approved, Kamshi asked me if I could help her and I was thrilled by the opportunity.”

The MOA exhibit will celebrate the festival on Oct. 19 from noon to 4. Activities include dancing, music, workshops and, of course, light. Diwali symbolises the spiritual "victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance." Light is a metaphor for knowledge and consciousness.

“We will have a light installation in the Haida House,” says Kanavathi. “The public will be able to participate and make Rangoli designs with the electric lights at the celebration. It’s going to be a lot of fun for families.”

Workshops include instruction on how to tie a sari and how to make Rangoli art. As well, a henna artist will be working throughout the afternoon.

And, of course, there will be food and drink for the guests.

“Traditional Indian sweets and chai tea will be served,” says Kanavathi.

Alootta CEO Harbinder Singh Sewak will supply the MOA Diwali event with ladoos and chai. AlooAtta is a Surrey company that specializes in eco-friendly products, such as its clean-burning, soy-based Rangoli Diya candles for sale in the gift shop.

“It’s such an honor to be involved,” he says. “This is such an important festival for myself and millions of others in Indian communities around the world. It pleases me greatly to have the world famous MOA celebrating the occasion in such grand fashon.”

For more information on the Museum Of Anthropology’s Diwali celebration, go to https://moa.ubc.ca/event/diwali-at-moa/