Clinton family shares milestone with community

Local community members, including Huron County Warden Jim Ginn, Deputy Mayor Dave Jewitt and author David Yates, watch as a traditional Aarti is performed at the Nov. 17 Diwali festival. Handout

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Clinton residents Kaushik and Smita Patel again welcomed the community as they co-hosted their annual Diwali festival, also known as Deepavali, at the MacKay Centre in Goderich on Nov. 17.

The Patel family has been hosts for the annual free event for nearly a decade while inviting members of the community to share their traditions

This year their Diwali festival had the added benefit of guests coming together to celebrate the Patel’s culture as well as allow the community to celebrate the couple’s 25th wedding anniversary.

“We had a great Deepavali celebration and I am thankful to all of my friends and family members, and to all of the guests who showed up for the event,” said Kaushik Patel. “It’s a great gift for my family and myself on our 25th wedding anniversary which shows your love to us, and makes the event a great success.”

After marriage, Kaushik and Smita immigrated to Canada, with Kaushik arriving in 2000 and Smita with their daughter Riya in 2001.

The family of four live in Clinton and are the proprietors of Charlie’s Variety, which they have operated since 2007.

Kaushik Patel said the event is made possible from the support Huron County gives the family, and from the people who drive from as far as Toronto, London and Guelph to celebrate with the family and their community.

Kaushik explained that the South Asian festival of Diwali celebrates the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness, and for him, the holiday also signifies the importance of family and traditional values as modelled by Hindu deities Lord Rama and Goddess Sita.

Over 105 people attended this year’s festival, including Huron County Warden Jim Ginn, Deputy Mayor David Jewitt, MP Ben Lobb, MPP Lisa Thompson and local historian and author David Yates.

Ginn told council members at the bi-weekly council meeting that he enjoyed the celebration put on by the Patel family, and was glad the family was able to continue their Diwali festival with such enthusiastic support from local community members.

Those who attended the event were treated to homemade food, as well as entertainment, including Garba music provided by Harry Patel. Garba is a traditional Gujarati folk dance performed as part of the nine nights of Navaratri celebrations in India.