Niki Sharma, New Democrat MLA for Vancouver-Hastings, made the following statement on the occasion of Diwali in the legislative chamber earlier today:
“When I was growing up, every year around October and November my parents would turn on the Christmas lights. It was the only house on the block, probably the only house in my small town, that had their Christmas lights on during Halloween. I’m sorry to say that as a young girl, I was embarrassed, not wanting to be different or stand out. As I made my way home from school, I avoided my classmates so that I wouldn’t have to answer questions about why the Christmas lights were on during Halloween.
“In my house, there was always a celebration. Although on the other side of the world, Diwali was alive in the four walls of my home. The House was filled with the smell of food we only made on special occasions. We took out our Indian clothes that usually only came out for weddings. We lit sparklers and celebrated as the snow fell outside our window and our Christmas lights shone down the street.
“As an adult, I now cherish those memories, and I think about how I am passing this on to my children. When I look back, I understand the meaning behind my parents turning on the Christmas lights. It was a beacon my parents lit, away from their home country, to say: “We are here, and we are proud” — a symbol of resilience, perseverance and hope.”
“Diwali is a festival of lights — light which dispels the darkness of our ignorance, light which guides us through our darkest days. At this time, millions of people are celebrating across the world. On these days, we face many challenges. We can all take a moment to appreciate that our collective light will always guide us through the darkness. I wish everyone a very happy Diwali. May you share some good food, light a candle or a sparkler and spend some time with your family.”
To view and share a video of MLA Sharma’s statement in the legislature, visit: https://www.facebook.com/NikiSharmaVancouverHastings/posts/379220747272759