Aylesbury’s Festival of Lights is open to all members of our community; As part of sharing a cultural experience, we’d love to tell you a little more about this Hindu festival, which is also celebrated by many.
What is Diwali?
Diwali is an annual celebration that brings together family and friends. It aims to bring light into hearts and homes. Light nourishes the world and brings hope at the start of each new day. We need light to see, for warmth and to grow trees, flowers and food. It is central to our existence, so let’s appreciate it in style!
The traditional Diwali festival is a 5-day event, full of food, music and joy. This is at the heart of our event; a positive, friendly get together for all generations to enjoy.
Traditionally, homes are cleaned, then adorned with elaborate rangoli designs. These patterns are skilfully created from coloured sand, rice and flower petals and offer a stunning welcome for visitors. People get dressed up in their favourite outfits and women decorate each other’s hands with intricate henna designs.
Prayers are offered to Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth and purity and people wish happiness, prosperity and joy to their friends, family and neighbours. We could all do with an extra dose of that this year!
Who is Rama?
The tale of Rama, who rescues his wife from dark and evil forces, is shared during Diwali. The couple’s journey home was illuminated by lights and families fill their homes with tealights and diyas as a symbol of good over evil. Unbound, the theatre company from Queens Park Art Centre will be performing this story at this year’s festival, so you can be enlightened with the full tale.
Welcoming a New Year
The third day of celebration is the Diwali festival of lights. Friends and family gather to sing, dance and eat. Firework displays fill the sky with light to a backdrop of music.
The next morning is the Hindi new year. This is marked with visits to the temple to present offerings of food and flowers to Ganesh, the God of new beginnings.
For Those with a Sweet Tooth
A highlight of the celebrations for many adults and children are the sweet treats that are served. Two favourites are Lapsi Halwa, a blend of cracked wheat, ghee, sugar and cardamom and Kaju Katli, a fudge-like blend of cashew nuts and sugar. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!
A Wonderful Get-Together
Your family might get together for food, fun and celebrations for Christmas, Eid, Hanukah, Garyitsu, or Baisakhi. You will have traditions surrounding the food eaten, praise given and gifts shared.
Although these will be different to Diwali, the spirit of the event is the same. It’s all about appreciating what we have and pulling out all the stops to joining the celebration. We hope that no matter what your belief, you will join us on the afternoon of Saturday 13 November at Aylesbury’s Discovery Museum for a wonderful community get together.