Members of Milton’s Hindu Community gathered at the Milton Lions Club Hall to mark the annual nine day festival of Navaratri. Halton Gurjati Samaj hosted the ninth annual Garba Ni Raat on September 27. The festival is celebrated for nine days across India. It marks the passing of the seasons from summer to autumn. It is associated with a battle of good over evil.

The festival is over 4,000 years old. Attendees gathered in the hall dressed in brightly coloured clothes to dance to traditional music. The HGS started celebrating Garba 10 years ago with 40 people. It’s evolved into an event attended by over 2,000. Its success is attributed to the Milton community. “We have people come out from all the different religions come out,” Organizer Nilesh Patel explained. They feel it’s important to pass on something to the next generation because the kids will have grown up in Canada. “These kinds of activities or festivals bring them together to learn about the culture. It’s very important,” Patel said.

Sanjay Gupta appreciated the community spirit. “This celebration cannot happen with just one family. It has to be with so many people coming together to celebrate this festival,” Gupta said. Gupta was dressed in a bright blue traditional outfit. “We pray to God, and we enjoy as well,” Gupta said of the event. There was a snack section in a kitchen on one side of the room where traditional favourites were being prepared.

The joy was personified by all the smiling faces. Dwij Padia liked how it attracted people who wanted to be there. “I believe it builds community because you don’t have the time or the energy to bring anything negative here. Everything was positive,” he said. Padia was in his twenties, and stressed how important it was to set an example to younger kids. “Kids don’t listen to you, they imitate you,” he said. For more information.
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