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2012 Diwali Celebrations in Church Street

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by Sandra Lawson (subscribe)
To paraphrase Dorothy: 'There is no place like London.' I hope I can convince you of that here. Also check out my blog at and my theatre reviews at
Diwali Celebrations in Church Street - Where East Meets West
Back in March of this year, Church Street in Twickenham once again hosted the Hindu Holi celebrations to welcome in the spring. This was a tremendously successful event and they will be welcoming in Diwali, a festival celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains, on 18 November. Known more generally as a festival of lights, on a spiritual level the meaning is closer to 'the awareness of the inner light'. The stories behind it vary across India, but many of the ways of celebrating are similar: lighting fireworks and decorative lights and sharing sweets.

Church Street will be closed throughout the day and the celebrations will start at midday, with the main events running between 4pm and 8pm. Between 3pm and 5.45 there will be Indian entertainment, consisting of musicians playing the tabla (Indian drum) and keyboards, who will accompany singers and Bollywood dancers. If all this makes you hungry there will be Indian food stalls along the street, including a live cooking station. Two local restaurants, Atithi and the Gurkha's Inn from nearby York Street, will also be taking part in the festivities.

Diwali celebrated with diyas or kandils - colourful paper lanterns
Diwali celebrated with diyas or kandils - colourful paper lanterns (Picture Courtesy of Wikipedia)

During the course of the afternoon a traditional Rangoli or Kolam will be created. These are decorative floor coverings for welcoming in Hindu deities at festival times and are based on traditional designs and ancient symbols that have been passed down through the generations. They are typically made from coloured rice, flour and sand, and sometimes even flower petals.

Rangoli (Picture Courtesy of Wikipedia)

Halloween and Bonfire Night are over and Christmas is yet to come, so share in celebrating Diwali in a traditional fashion to bring a little more light and colour into these dark November days.

The Rangoli of Lights
The Rangoli of Lights (Picture Courtesy of Wikipedia)

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Why? To celebrate Diwali
When: 18 November
Where: Church Street, Twickenham
Cost: Free
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