Canton hosts second annual Festival of Lights Diwali celebration

The event will feature dance performances, henna art, Indian food and boutiques.

Photo Credit: Canton Leisure Services

Canton Township is partnering with community organizations to host its second annual Festival of Lights. The cultural event is being held in honor of the celebration of Diwali celebrated by Sikh, Hindu and Jain communities.

Tania Ganguly is on the board of trustees for Canton Township.

“Diwali is one of the biggest festivals in India and it is mostly celebrated in this Sikh community and the Hindu community, and it’s mostly celebrated by lighting lamps. So basically the gist of the festival is a celebration of light over darkness.”

Laura Mortier is the recreation supervisor for Canton Leisure Services. She says the township is expanding programming to be more representative of people who live in the community.

“That’s really where we have started to really dive in to partnering with local community groups to host these types of events. So that’s where our Festival of Lights Diwali celebration has really started.”

WDIV anchor Priya Mann (second from right) lights a candle at the Canton Festival of Lights on October 22, 2021. Photo Credit: Canton Leisure Services

The inaugural Festival of Lights drew 300 attendees. Mortier says the event is an opportunity for residents to get to know their neighbors better and educate themselves about different cultures. 

Ganguly says Canton is a diverse township that’s about 20 percent Asian American, and her department is trying to do more festivals in the park that showcase inclusivity.

“We are focused on the cultural celebration here in the township, and we are really very much interested in getting our community involved in this event,” she says.

Saroj and Mandira Choudhury attend the 2021 Canton Festival of Lights. Photo Credit: Canton Leisure Services

Ganguly says community members volunteer and provide sponsorships for the event. She says Canton Leisure Services will help with the setup. 

“This festival celebration is for everyone to come and see what we do… basically understanding how different people live in this community and how different people have their celebration in this community,” says Ganguly.

Community members attended the Canton Festival of Lights in 2021. Photo Credit: Canton Leisure Services

The event will focus on the cultural aspects of Diwali such as lighting lamps, eating together and fireworks. There will be dance performances, henna art, Indian food and boutiques. Food will be catered by the Raja Rani Restaurant. 

Mortier says this is the first year the celebration will be equipped with fireworks.

“It was really fun last year for being our first year so we’re it’s going to be a pretty big party in the park and we’re excited for it,” she says.

Last year, Canton was awarded for being the first municipality to observe Diwali in Michigan.

The 2022 Festival of Lights will be held on Friday, October 14, from 6-8 p.m. at Heritage Park in Canton.

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  • Nargis Rahman
    Nargis Hakim Rahman is the Civic Reporter at 101.9 WDET. Rahman graduated from Wayne State University, where she was a part of the Journalism Institute of Media Diversity.