Celebrating our diversity in times of crises – communicate, collaborate & celebrate for strength, harmony, and peace

Currently, we are facing an unprecedented critical time with rising cases of COVID in our communities, Province, and globally, and it has added anxiety to the day-to-day lives of many. In this challenging time, cultural diversity can offer us diverse possibilities for how to take care of health (Ayurveda, yoga, and meditation), strengthen our willpower and creativity and inspire us and others. The winter holiday season is a special time of year when we commemorate especial things (meaningful in people’s life) as well as celebrate the end of the year, counting achievements and developing resolutions.

Most Canadian towns and cities are diverse and celebrate their diversity by integrating new cultures and cuisines in their celebrations. While there are many differences in the events we celebrate and how we commemorate them, they all have similar aspects of togetherness (integration of families and friends), reflection, enjoyment while keeping in mind the enlightenment, austerity, services, love, and peace to all. There are various faith-based festivals that occur during the winter season, which are celebrated in unique ways. Just a few examples of traditional holidays include: Hanukkah which is observed by Jewish families, Diwali (festival of lights) which is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains, Eids observed by Muslims, Christmas celebrated by Christians, and Buddhists commemorate the incarnation of Buddha, while some Aboriginal communities celebrate the Winter Solstice, African-Americans celebrate Kwanzaa, and most enjoy the spirit of New Year. Learning and respecting other cultures’ celebrations can bring us closer and make us stronger, which has become easy to explore with technological advancements and social media.

The key message is spreading love and acceptance through giving and forgiving, uniting, prospering, and helping each other. I firmly believe in my Hindu roots and recently celebrated Diwali but respect other traditions and am ready to enjoy the festivities of Christmas and the New Year. Please take time to reflect on our personal celebrations and how can we respectfully learn how others around our communities, and around the world celebrate diversity, and together we can share our similarities, this is how we can contribute towards world peace.

With this note, I wish everyone a very happy holiday season. May the supreme light of lights enlighten our understanding as we strive to attain spiritual wealth while enjoying prosperous glory on the material plane, and spreading the message of love to all, accepting people as they are. Though we all deserve to spend time with family and friends and celebrate the festivals, we have to ensure our safety and the safety of others by adhering to all public health guidelines.

 Wish you all happy holidays, and Happy New Year.

Tripathi family at their home Vrindavan in Kincardine celebrating Diwali and enjoying the spirit of the Christmas

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