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Deepavali Celebrations in Canada

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The Sri Lanka High Commission in Ottawa, Canada and the Consul General’s Office in Toronto together with the Sri Lankan community celebrated the Deepavali festival on a grand scale on 7th November, 2010 at the Korean Cultural Centre in Toronto.  Religious dignitaries of the Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim and Christian clergy participated in the event.  Five Members from the Federal Parliament of Canada including Members of the Municipal Councils and over 300 Sri Lankans participated in the celebrations.

A significant feature this year was the involvement of the Tamil community in organizing and coordinating the event.  At the entrance to the hall, the members of the youth group “Sri Lankans Without Border” assisted in welcoming the guests according to the Hindu tradition. A member of the Tamil community Mr. Ignatius Selliah was the Master of Ceremonies who conducted the entire event in all three languages. The celebration began with a special pooja to invoke blessings which was conducted by Siva Shri Thiyagarajah Kurukkal, the Chief Hindu Priest of the Sri Durka Hindu Temple.

The Deepavali Message of President Mahinda Rajapaksa was read in Tamil and English.  Mr. Ajantha Gnanamuttu and Mr. Sivam Vinayagamoorthi, two members from the Tamil community spoke on the significance of Deepavali, which was followed by an address by the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka in Canada Mrs. Chitranganee Wagiswara.  The High Commissioner spoke of the prevailing peace in Sri Lanka which provided a conducive environment for the Tamil population to celebrate Deepavali with all the religious observances and cultural aspects associated with the event.  While touching briefly on the current developments in Sri Lanka, especially in the North and East, she requested all the Sri Lankans living in Canada to unite and work together for continued peace and prosperity of their motherland.  The official ceremony was followed by cultural performances depicting religious and Tamil traditions performed by Tamil and Sinhala artists.

The official programme ended with the distribution of door prizes.  The first prize was a London/Colombo/London air ticket donated by Sri Lankan Airlines and handed over by Mr. Lalith Wickremasinghe, Manager, Sri Lankan Airlines and the second and third prizes donated by the Canada-Sri Lanka Business Council were handed over to the recipients by Mr. Kula Sellathurai, President, and, Mr. Ganeshan Sugumar, Vice President of the Canada-Sri Lanka Business Council, respectively.

The official and cultural segment of the celebration was followed by a reception hosted by the High Commission and the Consul General’s office with traditional food and sweets associated with Deepavali.

 Sri Lanka High Commission

Ottawa, Canada

10/11/2010

Photos by Mr. Nimal Egoda Gedara

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