8. Hindu Festival of Lights

Swaminarayan. Image © 2010 Ruth Lor Malloy.

This weekend is Deepavali or Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights. This is one of the religion’s major events. 

Celebrations take place in all Hindu temples.  For your first experience, I recommend the BAPS Swaminarayan Temple at Finch and Highway 427.   Fri.Nov.5 4-6pm; Sat.12pm-6pm. http://toronto.baps.org/news_events.php

We went last year and felt we were in India.  We did have a hard time finding a place to park inside its gates so go early. You might have to walk a bit otherwise.

Unlike many Hindu temples, this one is well organized.  As a non-Hindu, you don’t need to follow the rituals but a spirit of reverence and respect is expected of visitors. Leave your shoes at the door. After dark, floodlights illuminate the building, the most beautiful in Toronto.

No photographing is allowed indoors.  Afterwards, you can buy hot Indian food in an adjacent tent, a good place for asking questions of other visitors.  There’s also an excellent Indian grocery store across the street.

There are secular celebrations Saturday, Nov. 6 and Sunday, Nov. 7 in the Gerrard Street Little India between Greenwood and Coxwell Avenue with Bollywood and traditional dances and songs.  See:  www.TorontoMulticulturalCalendar.com for details.

This year, I’m visiting another Hindu temple but more about that later.   

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