Diwali Celebrations in London
Each year London streets turn ablaze with thousands of oil lamp decorations as the Hindu community comes together for celebration, traditional feasts, music, dances, prayers and the ‘Mithai’ so loved by everyone. This is Diwali, celebrated with great enjoyment and fun across the world. It is also known as the ‘Festival of Lights’, and the word Diwali itself means ‘row of lamps’. You will come across splendid displays of light work during the festival, while the air smells of tantalizingly delicious food as you enter a Hindu house and witness the hosts welcoming you all dressed up in fancy vibrant outfits.
Diwali is celebrated by Hindus and Sikhs spread all over the world with great fervor. Those in London also put up a great show during the festival with lights, dance performances, special meals and prayers. This festival in essence marks the victory of good over evil, the triumph of lightness over darkness and the dominance of hope over despair. This festival celebrates the triumph of the Hindu lord Rama over the evil Ravana to free the Queen Sita.
Diwali is usually a 5-day event. The most significant of these is the third day. According to Hindu belief, the return of Rama was celebrated by illuminating earthen lamps. This explains all the lighting frenzy. Londoners end up putting on extra pounds after the festival as the five days are filled with scrumptious food with an assortment of all sorts of sweets like Jaman , Kulfa etc. Houses are decorated with colorful lights while Hindus put up the best of their dresses. Last year the Diwali celebration at Trafalgar square entertained Londoners with some of the best classic dances ever along with festive traditional food. However, celebrations are not limited to just Trafalgar. Every Hindu/Sikh home and Mandar (religious center) hosts a celebration of its own. South hall, also known as ‘Little India of London’ arranges special activities during the festival to promote cultural exchange between India and the United Kingdom.
October/November 2012 (depends on the moon).
5 Days- Each day with its own significance. The third day is named ‘Diwali’ and is the most important one.
Trafalgar square hosts a grand Diwali event with classical dances, traditional banquet, Aarti and even free saris. Entry to this event is free and you will find volunteers to show you around.
Trafalgar Square, London, WC2N 5DN, UK.
How to Get There:
By Tube: The nearest Tube station to Trafalgar square is the Leicaster Square Tube Station. Head South on the Charing Cross Road and follow the A400 towards Orange street. View Map
By Bus: Trafalgar Square Stop (C) is the closest Bus Stop in the vicinity. You can board the buses 24, 29, 176, N5, N20, N29 and N41. View Map