Eminent on an Elephant!

Aylesbury’s Festival of Lights is full of surprises. This year, our lantern parade saw the town’s Mayor
arrive in the Market Square on the back of an elephant! Harminder is a showstopping mechanical
elephant and riding her over the cobbles to the Clock Tower was no mean feat for Cllr Tim Dixon.

“If Mayors have bucket lists, then being asked to ride on top of a (mechanical) elephant would surely
be on there, and being given the opportunity to wear my first turban, which was particularly
appreciated on a cooling Autumn evening. Thank you to all that attended and thank you for invitingme.” – Cllr Tim Dixon

Harminder followed our delightful lantern parade, which was led by event organiser Poonam Gupta,
carrying a star shaped willow lantern. Poonam was joined by Cllr Dev Dhillon and his consort Mrs Kuldip Dhillon.  Cllr Dev Dhillon carrying an illuminated lotus flower lantern, made by Poonam in lantern making workshop funded by William Harding Trust earlier in the month.  The lotus flower is a Hindu symbol of spirituality, prosperity, beauty and fertility.  The High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire, Debbie Brock carried a traditional lantern with a lit flame.

Flanking them, and creating a spectacular sight, were groups of Dhol drummers, dancers and
residents carrying over 60 delightful lanterns that they had made. As the parade moved from the
garden of the Discover Bucks Museum, along Temple Street, it was a wonderful sight. The perfect
way to light up the first evening of British winter time. We are grateful to everyone who got
involved; together we filled the Market Square.

The lantern parade was only possible because of Festival Road. This amazing company led lantern-
making workshops in advance of the event and on the day. They also brought Harminder to Aylesbury
and ensured we could create a carnival spirit.

Samosa and Smiles in the Museum Gardens
The lantern parade marked the end of a wonderful afternoon, held in the Discover Bucks Museum.
Fortunately, the rain held off, so everyone could enjoy the occasion. The walled gardens were filled
and everywhere we looked, people were smiling.

The event began with a traditional opening prayer and a classical Ganesh dance. Sri Lord Ganesha is the
elephant-headed God. His large ears listen to everyone’s prayers and he is the remover of obstacles.  Followed by a prayer to goddess Laxshmi  bringer of wealth and prosperity for everyone both spiritual and material.

Following this, the stage was set for a colourful, energised afternoon. Dance performers included
Kalpesh Patel and his troupe, Art of Living’s yoga dance and Jay Kumar, who taught everyone some new
Bollywood moves! People of all ages joined in, as no one could resist the beat of Indian music!

Spicy Delicacy’s street food, along with chai and samosas on the Holy Cow Community Events  stall, kept everyone fuelled up and warm on this joyous October afternoon.

Stunning henna tattoos now adorn the hands of many visitors and there was also the opportunity to try on a sari or turban.

Guests were invited to pass lighted Diyas, a Diwali tradition. This simple ritual marks the victory of light over dark, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance.

Thanks to All who Made Aylesbury’s Festival of Lights Happen Community events like Aylesbury’s Festival of Lights wouldn’t be possible without trustees, sponsors and volunteers. Thank you to our partners Discover Bucks Museum, Aylesbury Town Council, Buckinghamshire Council, The Anson Charitable Trust, William Harding’s Charity, Rothschild Foundation, Photohello and Holy Cow Home and our sponsors included Peveral Court Care and Wealthome

We also have to thank all the companies that donated prizes for the raffle; ticket sales provided valuable funds for this community event. Congratulations to the winners!

Next, we have to commend the Trustees, Julia, Vicky, Prashy and Poonam for organising the event – what a feat! They kept everything running smoothly on the day and are grateful for the support of a super team of volunteers. It was an incredible collaboration that so many people enjoyed.

On that note, did you know that, in addition to local residents, visitors came from Brighton, Bristol and even Spain and America! Although Aylesbury’s Festival of Lights is a Diwali celebration, it is open to people of all cultures, faiths, ages and backgrounds. It is the perfect way to bring together a diverse range of families, residents, friends and local dignitaries.

“We really enjoyed the Festival of Lights event; it was well-planned and fun. The highlight had to be the elephant! Well done to all of the team.” – FoL 2022 Visitor

Thanks to Images from Derek Pelling Photography and a video from Andy Scott of Photohello, we have a glorious record of this vibrant event! We’ll keep posting a selection of these on the Holy Cow Community Facebook page.