Diwali, also known as the "Festival of Lights," is a time-honoured Indian cultural festival. It is a tradition that conveys a universal message of hope and peace that transcends all borders and faiths. It is a wonderful opportunity to bring community together and to celebrate our diversity. It's one example of the many cultural celebrations available to Calgarians throughout the year and I am always thrilled when I participate, because I come away with such a feeling of pride and hope for our future.
I began to question religion at a very young age. I suppose my early interest in science and constant observations of the mistreatment of women in Hinduism and Indian culture played a large role. Thankfully, I was raised by an intelligent, progressive woman who welcomed and encouraged my critical thought. Even as I started to question religion in general and mine in particular, I continued to celebrate Diwali. It seems to be the one day of the year where the whole country puts aside its trivial differences, lights up, and celebrates together as one. That's a holiday that even the most crotchety atheists, this one included, can celebrate.
If we really want to have a conversation about integration and the joyousness of diversity in the country, we should be discussing whether Canada, founded on the Judeo-Christian values of the English and French, is ready to consider introducing other religious days, such as Lunar New Year or Diwali, to the official roster of statutory days off.
You may have noticed some of your South Asian friends lighting small tealights or cooking up traditional Indian sweets over the past few days. That's ...