“Today, Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists in Alberta and around the world begin celebrating the festival of Diwali, also known as the Festival of Lights.

“Diwali is celebrated each year in autumn and extends over five days with families, friends and communities coming together for feasting and fireworks. Sweets are shared and homes are decorated with colourful rangoli and fabrics. Puja (prayers) are commonly offered to the goddess Lakshmi to invite prosperity, love and good fortune into the home. Diya (lamps), from which the festival gets its name, are lit to symbolize the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil and happiness over despair.

“During this time, Sikhs commemorate Bandi Chhor Divas, or the Day of Liberation, marking the return of Guru Hargobind Ji.

“As the nights lengthen in darkness and the diya lamps ignite, I wish a blessed Diwali to all Albertans celebrating!”