FESTIVITIES IN CANADA
Fear of a global recession has not dampened the festive spirit among Indian Canadians who are raring to bring on the sparkle and glitter to dispel the darkness induced by the pandemic
BY DIVYA KAELEY
Economists in Canada say that with the economic outlook for both China and Europe deteriorating, a global recession seems to be inevitable. But conditions may be better closer to Canada, with signs that inflationary pressure has started to ease and, as a result, the central bank rate tightening will take a break soon, too. For Canada and the US, Canadian economists say they continue to view recession “as a risk, not a certainty”. According to the FP Canada website, “While many racialized minorities are experiencing financial stress at higher levels than the average Canadian, the 2022 Financial Stress Index reveals that, on the whole, they’re more proactive about dealing with it.”
Indians are, overall, a lively community. Many feel they may be in a better position as compared to other communities and project a better socio-economic status. They do not shy away from celebrating their culture. Festivals like Janmashtami, Ganesh Chaturthi and Diwali are marked with enthusiasm in Canada. Especially at this time of the year, Indians like getting together with their loved ones; they like travelling back home or even inviting family members to Canada for a visit. That brings them closer to home and helps to recreate a home away from home.
Whether Covid or an impending recession, Hindus continue to get together for celebrations either virtually or in person. A recent example of this was the recognition given to members of the Hindu community. Dr Aera and Ambika Thavaneswaran (a couple living in Winnipeg) were honoured by the Mahatma Gandhi Centre of Canada for their services to the Hindu temple in Manitoba. The couple organised prayer services during the pandemic on Zoom so that senior citizens and the general public could benefit from the temple activities Ambika is finance officer, NorWest Community Health Centre, Winnipeg.. Says Dr Thavaneswaran, who is a professor of statistics at the University of Manitoba, “India’s economy is resilient, even the 2008 crisis didn’t have much of an impact there. In Canada, the spirit has been great so far. The fear of recession will have no impact on the festive spirit of Indian Canadians. The Hindu Society of Manitoba is planning a Diwali Mela on a grand scale. Volunteers will be preparing traditional food and sweets to sell. Different ethnic groups are training their children to present cultural programmes.”
Now, when Covid restrictions have been lifted, there seems to be a pleasant revival of celebrations in person and on a large scale. The recent Janmashtami and Ganesh Chaturthi events saw large gatherings at cultural centres; venues for Navaratri and Diwali programmes are already booked. There is no apprehension among the public in going out and soaking in the festive spirit.
Surely, rising inflation has made the cost of borrowing higher, especially in the wake of higher lending and mortgage rates. All this has led to a higher cost of living, but it has certainly not dampened the enthusiasm of the Indian Canadian community to celebrate life.
(The writer is a financial planning professional at a Canadian bank and a former journalist in India)