Northampton’s annual family-friendly Diwali celebrations are set to light up the town centre for the Hindu festival.
Organised by the Indian Hindu Welfare Organisation and supported by Northampton Borough Council, this year’s celebrations will take place on the Market Square and will include food and information stalls, fun activities, entertainment and the spectacular lantern procession.
Celebrations will start during daylight on Saturday, October 14, at 10am, with stalls offering food and drink and information about local organisations.
Family friendly activities such as henna painting and saree dressing start at 1pm alongside the stage performances from children and music from Inspiration FM.
Dignitaries will take to the stage at 4.30pm to officially welcome people to the celebrations and to help launch a week of partnership activity in the town, for national Hate Crime Awareness Week.
Children from seven local schools will later join the Borough Council’s Youth Forum and organisers in the lantern parade, which starts at All Saints Church at 6pm. Crowd-pleasing light structures such as Harminder the Elephant and Shanti the big bird will be joined this year by giant puppets of Ram and Sita.
The procession will follow its usual route up Abington Street, onto Fish Street, past the Guildhall and along the Drapery to the Market Square, where the celebrations will come to a close with bhangra music and dance demonstrations.
Cllr Anna King, the Cabinet member for community engagement and safety, said: “Diwali is an important event in our town’s calendar, which brings together local communities as we celebrate this fantastic festival.
“We hope that everyone will come along to enjoy the day time activities in the Market Square as well as the parade in the evening.”
Neelam Aggarwal-Singh, chairperson for the Indian Hindu Welfare Organisation, said: “I am excited and looking forward to our annual Diwali celebrations, which will bring the people of Northampton together to celebrate this important Hindu Festival of Lights.
“It’s also fantastic to see so many schools taking part and we look forward to welcoming all children, parents and families to the celebrations.”