Communities join for Festival of Lights

WITH THE days becoming shorter and the end of Summer Time approaching, a welcome celebration of light took over Woking town centre with the annual Diwali parade and party.

The “Festival of Lights” is not just a Hindu celebration, but is also marked by Sikhs and Jains and symbolises the victory of light, goodness and knowledge over darkness, evil and  ignorance.

As with most gatherings in Woking, Diwali has become multicultural with 19 local schools and community groups taking part, having attended workshops to make special lanterns.

There was a parade through the town centre and into the shopping centres, led by the percussion group Dhol Beats UK. The parade moved on into the HG Wells Conference and Events Centre where a party was held.

Ritesh Aswaney, from the Surrey Hindu Cultural Association, said: “Although Diwali is a religious festival for many Indian and Nepalese people, we are extremely proud to be able to share this special occasion with people from all backgrounds, no matter what their culture or beliefs.

“During Diwali, we rejoice the victory of good over evil and start the new year afresh. The procession and accompanying party have a magical atmosphere and families young and old can become immersed in the wonderful performances, no matter what the religious or sutural significance is for them personally.”

The Woking celebrations were held last week, but the main focus of Diwali is today (19 October).

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