On November 1, 2016, the Ontario government officially designated the inaugural Hindu Heritage Month in Canada. This followed years of Canada commemorating various Hindu and Indian festivities, such as Diwali.
Hindu Heritage Month serves as an acknowledgment and recognition of the contributions of Hindus to Canadian society.
With 1.2 billion followers worldwide, Hinduism stands as the world’s oldest religion, according to the World Population Review. In Canada, it constitutes 2.3 per cent of the population, according to Statistics Canada.
Mohawk College, in collaboration with Social Inc., is actively participating in the celebration of Hindu Heritage Month by hosting a film event that highlights the achievements of Hindu culture in the community.
Jil Patel, a student at Mohawk College, expressed gratitude for this recognition.
“Yeah, it definitely means a lot,” Patel said. “It’s exciting and feels good to see such appreciation for our cultural heritage, even at school.”
Mohawk College will also be observing Diwali during the month of November.
Diwali is a festival of lights, a five-day celebration that involves music, dancing, and colored sand.
“Though we don’t have Hindu heritage month back home, we have Diwali,” Patel added.
Diwali will be on Nov. 12, and it’s an important holiday for many Indians and Indian Canadians.
In 2022, the Mohawk College Language and Culture Centre (LCC) organized a Diwali celebration in the McIntyre Theatre and is likely to be involved in the celebrations this year.
For international students like Aastha Aastha, Diwali can feel lonely.
“To be honest, I won’t be celebrating this time. My family is going to be in India, so that means I’ll be alone here,” Aastha said.
Young people in the Hamilton area can participate in events like the Diwali Bollywood Night on Nov. 11, featuring live music and entertainment from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. at 93 John St.
For more information on Hindu Heritage Month events and Diwali events at Mohawk, visit www.mohawkcollege.ca/events.