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Matthew Pearson

Diwali in London 2019

Diwali in London 2019, including...

  • What is Diwali?
  • And where can I celebrate Diwali 2019?

What is Diwali?

Diwali is a festival of lights, observed by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists all over the planet. Around one billion people will be celebrating Diwali this year, a festival that looks to new beginnings and speaks to the triumph of light over darkness and good over evil. The word Diwali is derived from the Sanskrit deepavali, which translates as ‘rows of lighted lamps’. Small oil lamps called diyas decorate public places and light them up through the night. Lanterns are lit and paraded, and firework displays illuminate the sky. Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains each have their own stories associated with Diwali, and focus the celebrations towards their separate religious figures, gurus and gods. But the championing of light and displaying of optimism for the new year is common to each religion’s Diwali celebrations. As is a focus on food and feasting, with lots of little sweets and treats closely associated with Diwali. The atmosphere of the five-day celebration is one of positivity, unity and festivity, with dancing, singing, colourful clothes and bright, symbolic artworks all part of the occasion.

Where Can I Celebrate Diwali in London?

Diwali on Trafalgar Square

The biggest public festival celebrating Diwali in London takes place on Trafalgar Square. Thousands head to this free party, right in the centre of London each year. Join them and witness some fabulous Garba dance performances. Instructors are there to teach you how to join in with the dance. The kids area, packed full of fun and educational activities (including the chance to make their own candles and lanterns), is perfect for young guests. And, when their crafting and arguments over glue sticks have stressed you out, head over to the yoga area for some guided meditation and yogic exercise. Hosted each year by the Mayor of London, 2019’s event looks to be as uplifting and vibrant as ever. Sunday 3rd November 2019, 13.00 - FREE [caption id="attachment_5371" align="alignnone" width="1000"]


Light up the Night at Wembley Park

A huge celebration of Diwali and Bonfire Night, Light Up the Night fuses the two light-filled festivals together to reflect the cultural diversity of the Wembley Park neighbourhood. Get ready for a big and bold and vibrant parade. Expect to see illuminated butterfly sculptures, live bands, hundreds of lanterns made by the local community, troupes of fantastically dressed dancers and light-up mechanical puppets. There’ll be tons of fabulous street food available and funfair rides in Market Square. Then a fireworks display will take over the sky at 19.00. After that, the local Boxpark will stay open for those still in the mood to dance and celebrate. Also, entry is completely free. Sunday 10th November 2019, 17.00 - FREE [caption id="attachment_5373" align="alignnone" width="1000"]


Diwali: Festival of Light at National Maritime Museum

Diwali: Festival of Light is a perfect event for those wanting to get involved in the traditional art, dance and music of Diwali. So try your hand at lantern making, helped on your way by artist Ling Chiu who’ll teach you all about her lotus flower-inspired designs. Join artist Meera Chauda to learn more about Rangoli art, colourful pattered pieces made from coloured rice, flour, sand and flower petals. See the stories of Diwali brought to life in the storytelling area. Another zone introduces you to the beats, sounds and rhythms of the festival in a special drum workshop. There’s a dance workshop too, where Bollywood Co dancers will perform and teach you some of their moves. Everyone is encouraged to take part in the evening parade, bringing along all they’ve made and learned throughout the day. Together, all the day's guests create a jubilant, lively and colourful parade from the National Maritime Museum to Greenwich Park. It’s all free. Saturday 26th October 2019, 11.00 - 16.30 - FREE

Diwali and Harrow Fireworks

A joint celebration of Diwali and Guy Fawkes Night, Diwali and Harrow Fireworks is a whole day event with funfair rides, food, dancing and pyrotechnics. Arrive between 12.00 and 16.00, entry is entirely free. There's a small fee payable after that. There’ll be traditional dance performances and entertainment. And plenty of shopping stalls and food from all over the world, including fish and chips, a carvery, a BBQ, hog roast and lots and lots of Indian food. Finally, the fireworks kick off around 19.45, and zip off into the air soundtracked by famous songs from the movies. Saturday 2nd November 2019, 12.00 onwards - FREE UNTIL 16.00

Diwali with Dishoom and Dinerama

Popular and critically-lauded Indian restaurant chain Dishoom are once again celebrating Diwali in London at Dinerama this year. There’s an incredible line-up of live musicians to enjoy, including fusion artist Vibe Bhatia, Sarangi player Amrit Kaur Lohia and headliner Soumik Datta, as well as spoken word poetry from Jaspreet Kaur. In addition, DJ Ryan Lanji will be keeping the mood up and happy and celebratory throughout the evening. When it comes to food, Street Feast’s traders will be dishing out their best veggie dishes, and Dishoom are set to be serving a huge jackfruit biryani and a secret new street food dish from Chef Naved. Everyone’s welcome, but they recommend 12 and over when it comes to the kids. Tickets are £8 and include a Dishoom chai and mithai. Tuesday 22nd October. 18.00 - 22.30 [caption id="attachment_5370" align="alignnone" width="1000"]


Diwali Night at Wanstead Rugby Club

Wanstead Rugby Club provides the setting for this Diwali celebration. Including Puja (a prayer ritual) and Rangoli (an art form associated with Diwali), this is one of the most traditional events celebrating Diwali in London. At the rugby club, there’s face painting and mehendi, special dance performances and DJs to look forward to. From 20.00, you'll be tucking into a three course vegetarian meal. Also, please note that guests are encouraged to bring their own fireworks to add to the communal pile. There is a strictly ethnic Indian dress code. Saturday 2nd November 2019, 18.00 - £22.25 So, that's it for our Diwali in London feature. And if you're looking for more things to do this Autumn, have a look here.

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