Diwali is shining bright in Southampton

CELEBRATION of victory of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance and annoyed drivers!

Fireworks, food and excitement, this is what is happening between the 5th and 11th of November across the globe, but why? With over a month until Christmas and even more for the New Year what calls for this celebration?

Hindus are now celebrating the Festival of Light called Diwali, the most popular and awaited festival in India.

In a lead-up to Diwali, celebrants prepare themselves by cleaning and decorating their houses which are brightly illuminated with small earthenware oil lamps (diyas), during the five days of celebration.

(Hindus lit up the candles to celebrate Diwali – festival of light. Picture taken at Singh Sabha Gurdwara tample)
Hindus lit up the candles to celebrate Diwali – festival of light. Picture taken at Singh Sabha Gurdwara tample

 

 

During this festival, Hindus offer a worship called puja to the goddess of wealth, Lakshmi. They light fireworks, partake in family feasts where sweets (mithai) and gifts are exchanged.

This year in Southampton a lot of things are going on around regarding Diwali. The 7th and 8th November are the busiest days for Hindus. Yesterday, around 300 individuals were participating in this cultural event at Vedic Hindu Temple, where fireworks and the puja worship took place.

(Firework display is a part of Diwali festival celebration – picture taken during Diwali festival in Southampton near Redcliffe Road)
Firework displays are a part of Diwali festivities – picture taken during Diwali festival in Southampton near Redcliffe Road

 

Don’t worry if you missed the fireworks! Diwali is going to last for another 3 days.

During yesterday’s celebrations I asked a few participants about the festival and their experiences.

Denisha Dhokia, student of University of Southampton said yesterday “Dwali is like Christmas for us, we then eat a lot of good food, share gifts and enjoy ourselves. These days are really relaxing”

I watched a firework display with Ankur Tayal, who studies at Solent University, he said “The whole night is like this in India, fireworks don’t stop. It is the biggest festival, everyone really enjoys it and waits for it all year”

Another celebrants Vignesh Nallathambipillai and his friends said “We’re very excited about this, we love fireworks and all the celebration, and we’re glad that we can be a part of this culture”

Diwali is obviously a festival of positivity and happiness which brings together hundreds of Hindus every year, that’s why good organisation is required. Redcliffe Road had to be closed on the 7th because of safety reasons, which annoyed drivers.

Yesterday’s event was only a precursor of a Hindu New Year’s Eve which is today. It’s expected to draw in even more people than last night’s celebrations, where event goers can watch performances and speeches from 7pm at Vedic Society Hindu Temple.

(Young people wearing tradition clothes and celebrating Diwali festival in Southampton on 7th of November)
Young people wearing traditional clothes and celebrating Diwali in Southampton on the 7th of November