Thousands expected to join annual Diwali Lights procession through Northampton town centre

The Diwali Festival of Lights procession takes place in Northampton town centre on Saturday October 29, 2016

The Diwali Festival of Lights procession takes place in Northampton town centre on Saturday October 29, 2016

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The 16th Diwali Lights - Winter Festival of Lights will be lighting up Northampton town centre on Saturday, October 29.

Organised by the Indian Hindu Welfare Organisation (IHWO), the event has now become one of the town’s annual highlights.

It’s a mesmerising sight to watch the town square come to life as it bathes in a cascade of twinkling lights, music and the sensual aroma of traditional street foods. This event attracts thousands of spectators from all cultures and backgrounds during the course of the day.

Diwali, known as the festival of lights, signifies the victory of light over dark, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance and hope over despair. It is a festival celebrated by Hindus, Jains and Sikhs.

Hindus light traditional earthen lanterns (Diyas) in celebration and honour of the return of Lord Rama and his wife Sita, after a fourteen-year exile and defeating the evil king Ravanna.

Diwali is celebrated over five days. Families share sweets and gifts with other family members, neighbours and friends as well as take the opportunity to donate and help those who are in need. Homes are decorated with vibrant colours, lights and Diyas. Rangoli patterns are created in homes using coloured rice or powder to make the home look beautiful and inviting.

The event on Saturday will begin at 10am and run through to 8pm in Northampton town centre’s Market Square, Abington Street.

The event will start in the Market Square with a range of traditional Indian workshops, including Henna tattooing, “Rangoli” “Diwali Card making” art and crafts, How to wear a Saree workshop, Cultural games such as “Karom”, demonstrations and exhibitions by local community groups, various forms of traditional music, dance performances and much much more for all ages. You can also challenge your taste buds and sample some of the culinary delights from Indian food stalls.

The highlight of the event is the famous Diwali Lantern Procession, which will leave at 6pm including our latest and much-awaited member “Shanti” the Big Bird, Harminder the Elephant and more.

Neelam Aggarwal-Singh MBE DL, on behalf of IHWO, said: "We are fortunate to experience the fabulous works and expertise of the famous carnival arts company – Festive Road, who have delighted you in the past with their eye-catching and magnificent displays.

"We are privileged to have amongst us guests such as the Deputy Lord Lieutenant for Northamptonshire, MP Michael Ellis, MP David Mackintosh, the Mayor of Northampton, Councillor Chris Malpas, and leader of NBC, Jonathan Nunn, and many more guests.

"The procession will draw to a close in the Market Square where people will then witness the official switching on of the Diwali lights and to finish of a splendid day the ever famous Indian “bhangra” party for all to enjoy and join in," Neelam added.

For more details, visit http://www.ihwo.org.uk/