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Diwali Stars in Trafalgar Square

14 October 2016 | Updated 01 January 1970

The Diwali Festival in Trafalgar Square brings together thousands of Hindus, Sikhs and Jains alongside people from other communities in celebration of the ‘festival of lights’, showing that London is open to people of all backgrounds.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, will launch London’s Diwali celebrations on Sunday 16 October. The Diwali Festival returns to Trafalgar Square and will feature a colourful and vibrant mix of music, dance and live performance, as well as food stalls and shops.

Londoners from all communities and visitors to the capital are invited to attend the celebrations, which feature lively music and dance, delicious food and drink, plus activities for the whole family to enjoy. The free event is being organised to mark Diwali, the 'Festival of Lights', which is observed by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains in India and many other countries around the world. It is being staged by the Mayor of London with headline partner Lebara Mobile and supporting partners Jet Airways and Incredible India. The Diwali Festival is produced in association with the Diwali in London committee.

An afternoon of family fun will kick off with a children’s performance on the central steps of Trafalgar Square before everyone gets to enjoy traditional garba dancing accompanied by a full-scale garba band. The action then moves to the main stage, where there will be a variety of live music and dance performances, including visiting dancers from Jammu and Kashmir, supported by the Nehru Centre. Later, BBC Asian Network takes to the stage with presenter Tommy Sandhu introducing the best of British Asian contemporary music talent.

Sadiq Khan will officially open the event by lighting a special Diwali lamp on the main stage. The Mayor will be joined by Deputy Mayor for Business, Rajesh Agrawal.

Throughout the day, an Indian street food market will sell a variety of tasty vegetarian food and non-alcoholic drinks. There will also be plenty of chances to stock up on Indian essentials – including jewellery, spices, rangoli and ayurvedic products.

Revellers will also have the chance to don a sari, learn a Bollywood dance, participate in yoga and meditation sessions for beginners, get a henna tattoo, pick up top health tips, find out more about Diwali and the faiths behind it, or simply enjoy this year’s illuminations.

Children can take part in a range of activities at the festival, including story-telling sessions, games, and arts and crafts all linked to Diwali traditions.

The Diwali in London Committee Chairperson 2016, Sanjay Gadhvi, said: “This year we celebrate 15th year of Diwali in Trafalgar Square, London. This wonderful festival is filled with lights, lamps, music, sweets and gifts, but the Diwali story is more than the story of a single day of festive celebrations. It is a story of dedication to the pursuance and protection of the truth, justice, cooperation and respect. Come and join us and share happiness in entertainment, feasting and interactive workshops. Happy Diwali.”

Picture: The Diwali Festival in Trafalgar Square takes place on Sunday 16 October


Article written by Cathryn Ellis | Published 14 October 2016


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