New models for the procession and live entertainment took centre stage at the annual Diwali celebrations on Northampton’s Market Square.
The annual Diwali lantern procession took place at Market Square over the weekend and played host to Northampton school children who joined in the parade, which included diva lights, drummers and new light-structures of Hanumanji the monkey God and Ravana the demon king.
Favourite characters Harminder the elephant, Ram and Sita and Shanti the big bird joined in the fun as the procession headed up Abington Street, onto Fish Street, past the Guildhall and through to the Market Square.
Organised by the Indian Hindu Welfare Organisation and supported by Northampton Borough Council, this year’s celebrations opened on Saturday with a whole host of food stalls.
Family-friendly activities such as henna painting, Karom board game and sari dressing started the celebrations, with performances, music and stage entertainment from 1pm.
Later on a light was offered to the Leader of the Northampton Borough Council, Councillor Jonathan Nunn, and the Mayor of Northampton, Councillor Tony Ansell, at the steps of the Guildhall and another light at the All Saints Church, was received by Father Oliver Coss.
Dignitaries took to the stage at 7pm for speeches and countdown to switch on the Diwali Lights in the Market Square, before bhangra music and dancing close the event at 8pm.
Neelam Aggarwal-Singh, chairperson for the Indian Hindu Welfare Organisation, said: “It’s fantastic to see Diwali Lights celebrations get bigger and better and continue to grow from strength to strength each year.”
Councillor Anna King, Cabinet member for community engagement and safety, said: “The town’s Diwali Lights celebrations are always a popular occasion, with families flocking into the town to enjoy the entertainment and see the lantern procession.
“Festive Road have done an amazing job creating two new characters to join this year’s parade.”