Keep Calm, Celebrate Light: Diwali Events Around the Country

Salute the victory of light over darkness at an arts centre near you

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Keep Calm, Celebrate Light: Diwali Events Around the Country

The days are getting shorter and colder, and as we hurtle towards the end of the ugliest and most depressing US presidential election in living memory, it's worth remembering that darkness, ignorance and despair will not always triumph over light, knowledge and hope. Amirite, Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists? Yeah, you know what I'm talking about: Diwali is coming.

Diwali is the ancient Hindu festival of light, although it's also celebrated, for varying reasons, by Jains, Sikhs and the Newar Buddhists of Nepal. In the Hindu tradition, it marks the return of Rama, Sita and Lakshmana from their long exile after defeating Ravana; Sita is an avatar of Lakshmi, goddess of wealth, fertility and prosperity, and to celebrate Diwali is get into Lakshmi's good books. And so, for five days between mid-October and mid-November, celebrants clean their homes and decorate them with lights, give gifts to family members and close friends, and let off fireworks. No surprise that it's also India's big shopping season, the subcontinent's equivalent of Christmas.

There are Diwali events happening all over Britain, but no surprise that most of them are in Leicester, Britain's most proudly multi-cultural city, a place where everybody belongs to an ethnic minority. There are drama workshops, art exhibitions, storytelling sessions, concerts and of course light shows, all championing the struggle of good against evil. Below is a selection of Diwali events from all over the island.

Birmingham
Soho Road Diwali
Live music with Roshan Prince and Jaz Dhami, with food and other celebrations.
Soho Road, Sun 16 Oct, noon–6.30pm

Edinburgh
Discover a 200-year-old Scottish-Nepali Relationship
Find out about the work of an 18th century Scottish medic in the Kathmandu valley, and celebrate Diwali with local Nepali-Scots people.
John Hope Gateway, Royal Botanic Garden, Sat 29 Oct, 1–4pm

Glasgow
Talk and Meditation
Discover the true meaning of Diwali (or a true meaning, anyway; Hindu mythology ain't simple) in this talk and meditation session.
Inner Space Glasgow Meditation Centre, Thu 27 Oct, 7pm

Leicester
Diwali Lights Switch On
The traditional switching-on of the lights, including a traditional music and dance programme and an aerial firework display over Leicester's Golden Mile.
Cossington Street Recreation Ground, Sun 16 Oct 3–7pm, Mon 17 Oct 1–7pm.

6000 Lights: The Story of Diwali in Leicester
A look at the history of Diwali in Leicester and the people who turned it from its small beginnings in the 1960s to today's festival, one of the biggest of its kind outside India.
New Walk Museum and Art Gallery, until Sun 27 Nov.

Diwali Colour Trail
Kids can explore light and colour in the gallery.
New Walk Museum and Art Gallery, Mon 17--Sun 30 Oct, 11am–4pm.

Discover Diwali
Drama and creative arts sessions for ages 8–14, in which you can explore the story of Diwali and join in the lantern parade.
Belgrave Neighbourhood Centre, Mon 17, Wed 19 & Fri 21 Oct, 1–4pm.

London
Diwali Festival
Join 40,000 people in Trafalgar Square for contemporary Asian music and dance, with traditional religious music to open and close the festivities.
Trafalgar Square, Sun 16 Oct, noon–8pm.

Cutty Sark Diwali Festival of Light
A three-day celebration of the festival of light, with live music, light installations, market stalls and community groups.
Cutty Sark, Greenwich, Fri 21–Sun 23 Oct, noon–8pm.

Swansea
Diwali Decorations
Learn how to make traditional Rangoli decorations in this festival-themed workshop.
National Waterfront Museum, Sat 22 & Sun 23 Oct, 12.30–3.30pm.

Win a 12-week course at Dance Base

Dance Base have been promoting dance in the city of Edinburgh since 1994, encouraging and inspiring people of all ages and abilities to try out the art form.

Diwali Festival of Lights: Talk and Meditation

Learn how to light up your inner life during the Indian light festival of Diwali.

Diwali Festival

Celebrated every year by Sikhs, Hindus and Jains across the world, the festival of lights draws around 40,000 people to Trafalgar Square to enjoy a stage programme showcasing contemporary Asian music and dance from professional artists and talented community groups. Traditional religious music opens and closes the show.

Diwali Decorations

Help us make beautiful Rangoli patterns using colourful powders and learn about the different symbols.

Diwali Colour Trail

Explore light and colour in the gallery.

Discover a 200-year Scottish/Nepali relationship

Puppets, dancers and storytellers bring to life the story of 18th Century Indian Botanical artists working with a Scottish medic in the Kathmandu Valley. Discover the trees of Nepal with a guided walk and share Diwali celebrations with local Nepali-Scots. In partnership with Forestry Commission Scotland and Creative…

Soho Road Diwali

Annual Diwali festival with activities, music, food and more. Featuring Roshan Prince and Jaz Dhami.

Diwali Lights Switch On

A celebration of the festival of lightt.

Cutty Sark Diwali Festival Of Light

A three-day celebration of the festival of light, with live music, light installations, market stalls and community groups.

6,000 Lights: The Story Of Diwali In Leicester Exhibition

Leicester today has what is regarded as one of the largest Diwali celebrations outside of India, but the festival had very humble origins back in the 1960s. The exhibition explores why Leicester has this spectacular festival and the people, organisations and events that have made it happen. Local people have shared their…

Discover Diwali

Join the Imaginative Neighbourhoods artists in residence Manya and Parmjit for a week of exciting sessions of drama and creative arts. Explore the story of Diwali and its traditions through movement and making. Plus an opportunity to achieve your Arts Award and join in with our lantern parade. Age 8 to 14 years. Limited…

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