The city of London is all geared up for jubilant Diwali celebrations and cultural events where Bollywood dance parties, festive food stalls, classical dance events, and community gatherings will appear to bring more glitz to the festive mood.
After two challenging years due to the COVID pandemic, this year's Diwali celebrations are expected to be even more special. The Indian diaspora, and cultural and religious organisation are geared up to ring in the festive period with optimism, abundance, and joy.
The yearly spectacle at the bustling Trafalgar Square returned after two years of absence and helped stylishly prepare the UK’s capital city for Diwali.
The Diwali in London Committee, in collaboration with the Mayor of London, organised the event earlier this month, drawing families and communities from all over the UK.
Activities ranging from Neasden Temple's Diwali Festival Experience, Diwali Culture Zone, Soho Theatre comedy, dance workshops, and henna painting to a performance by more than 200 colourfully dressed folk dancers, the event was one of its kind.
Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, stated that amid difficult times, Diwali serves as a reminder of "hope for a brighter tomorrow."
Celebrating Diwali - the festival of lights - in London may seem like a world apart from the pompous, large-scale, multiday festivities that occur in India, but not for the thousands of members of Indian diaspora who come together on the streets to enjoy the light shows and gatherings.
From dancing to the tunes of Bollywood to sharing a host of delicious-sounding traditional drinks, Diwali plays a considerable role in culturally identifying with the South Asian identity.
The ongoing pre-festivities shed light on various aspects of community togetherness and owning the traditions of the Indian sub-continent while instilling hope in a country that recently witnessed communal clashes.
Even as the London in Diwali event concluded on 9 October, the festive mood continued throughout the city, with decked up mithai shops, stores selling Diwali decorations, lit homes of Londoners, and hustle and bustle of Diwali shopping.