British Columbia

Volunteers decorate for Diwali, prepare for 10,000 people to come to Surrey temple

On Wednesday, the eve of Diwali, volunteers gathered at the Laxmi Narayan Mandir Temple to decorate.

Five-day festival of lights starts on Thursday

Volunteers decorate the deity Narayan at the Laxmi Narayan Mandir Temple in Surrey the day before Diwali. (Samantha Garvey/CBC)

Across the world, Diwali celebrations are underway and thousands are gathering in Metro Vancouver to be a part of the festival of lights that starts Thursday.  

One Hindu temple in Surrey was bustling to get ready for a morning of festivities and preparing for 10,000 people to attend the opening celebration.

The day before Diwali, on Wednesday, volunteers gathered at the Laxmi Narayan Mandir Temple to decorate.  

"It's the happiest moment," said Santosh Joshi, one of the volunteers.

As she talked, Joshi pointed out some of the deities in the temple that she and the other volunteers were decorating with clothes and jewlery.

"This goddess, we call her Durga Maa," Joshi said. "She's wearing a sari that is green and hot pink, with all the decorations here on the sari."

The goddess Durga Maa, clothed in a pink-and-green sari at the Laxmi Narayan Mandir Temple. (Samantha Garvey/CBC)

Joshi said she has always helped with Diwali preparations throughout her whole life.

"It's very important for me. Although, I am a Canadian, my background, I am still Indian," she said. "I respect my religion and I respect all my deities."

'You all get together with families'

Satish Kumar, the president of the Vedic Hindu Cultural Society, said the Laxmi Narayan Mandir Temple is the largest in British Columbia and hosts a number of events throughout the year.

Diwali is the biggest of the events, Kumar said, and it's not just Hindus who celebrate it.

"Diwali is a very big function for the Hindu community and there are three or four communities celebrating this Diwali function which is Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist and Jain," Kumar said.

Tina Dhillon, left, helping dress a deity in preparation for Diwali. (Samantha Garvey/CBC)

Tina Dhillon, another volunteer, said she loves how Diwali brings people together.

"It's like Christmas for us, so it's a celebration with lots of food, lots of gifts and you get to see all your friends who you haven't seen for a whole year. You all get together with the families," Dhillon said.

The five days of Diwali celebrations will continue throughout the week. 

To hear more, click on the audio link below.

With files from Samantha Garvey and The Early Edition.