Halton Gujarati Seniors Samaj (HGSS) hosted the Diwali Festival of Light at the Milton Bible Church on Chisolm Drive on Sunday, November 10th. HGSS is a notfor-profit seniors group representing an association of Gujurati-speaking seniors aged 56 to 74 years who live in the Halton region.

Diwali is the preeminent event on the Hindu calendar and signifies the time of year to reflect on the blessings in life and to share generosity with those less fortunate in the community. The 5 day festival marks the triumph of good over evil, right over wrong and light over darkness. Fittingly, the HGSS event unfolded with a procession of light as mothers, daughter, nieces and aunts, resplendent in colourfully adorned saris entered the hall and placed their Diyas (clay lamps) at the foot of the raised stage to recognize the significance of the power of light. After the procession, the audience recognized 2 minutes of silence on the eve of Remembrance Day to commemorate soldiers who were lost and wounded during world war conflicts.
The event was a family affair with kids, grandkids, parents and grandparents interacting and included multiple dance performances, greetings from distinguished guests, and a presentation of appreciation awards to volunteers and guests who have contributed to the organization during the past year
Dazzling costumes worn by dancers and equally well-appointed audience members lit up the room. Dancing interspersed the presentations with a series of cultural dances along with Bollywood style choreography that drew appreciative hand-clapping and encouraging words from the crowd. Towards the evening’s end, a delicious hot buffet was served.
All 3 levels of government were represented at the ceremony including Milton town councilor Sameera Ali, Regional Councilor Mike Cluett and Halton Regional Councilor Colin Best, Parm Gill, MPP, Adam van Koeverden MP and Mayor Gord Kranz who brought greetings and also served as the official cutter of the celebratory cake that was distributed to the crowd.
Appreciation trophies were awarded to HGSS volunteers, dignitaries, and members of the Milton community including Lorrette Shermet representing the Grace Anglican Church where HGSS members congregate every month and Rick Di Lorenzo, publisher of the Milton Villager that covers community events like HGSS and other festivals throughout the year.
This year’s celebration has been commemorated with a 2019 Souvenir Magazine that was partially funded by the Ontario Government along with businesses, contributors and wellwishers. HGSS plans to make the Souvenir Magazine an ongoing feature of Diwali celebrations into the future.
Hassu Bihari Sthankiya, HGSS secretary explains that the HGSS seniors group meets once a month at the Grace Anglican Church to discuss issues affecting them as seniors and to socialize. “They used to meet in their kids’ basements before,” says Hassu.
“We want to keep ourselves very busy and involved with life. Forget Google,” quips Hassu. “Tap any of our members and you can get an instant answer to your question. Collectively, there is so much life experience within this group that all ages can benefit from their wisdom and knowledge.”

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