Many Religions have Festivals of Light

A photo of Divali Candles
Diwali Candles indoors

DIWALI KI SHUBHKAMNAYEIN दिवाली की शुभकामनाएं Diwali Greeting in Hindi

Did you know there are 18 religious celebrations in November alone in the UK!

All through November Great British Community has been marking Interfaith Month by looking at how different faiths contribute to our cultural life, from the origins of faith in the UK to prominent figures and social impact. With faiths from every corner of the planet settling here throughout history and ongoing Today it’s just a whole load more fun to take a moment to see how some of the major ones are celebrated in the UK.

The 13th of November sees one of our biggest and brightest days for celebration, Diwali. A time for spring cleaning and celebrating triumph of good over evil and light over dark. With a large Hindu population in the UK, Diwali, or the festival of lights is also celebrated by Sikhs and Jains, it’s gaining popularity among other Brits too. With fireworks, beautiful lighting displays, performances and tasty food on offer it’s no surprise. It’s one of the most beautiful and colourful celebrations in the religious calendar and is increasingly enriching towns up and down the UK and has found a home in Leicester.The Divali celebrations in Leicester are known to have amazing lights illuminating the city, it will be one of the largest outside of India with over 35,000 people attending..that’s more than attend Leicester City matches. (ED: Oi!)

Being in November means we need to brave the cold but if all I need to do is wear a coat to see amazing displays, colourful celebrations, fireworks and eat some tasty food then count me in.

A photo of a Christmas Cake
A traditional Christmas Cake

At the end of the holy month of Ramadan it’s time for Muslims to celebrate Eid. Much like Christmas it’s normally started with little overexcited girls and boys wanting Mum and Dad to wake up and start the day. A feast is prepared for a breakfast meal early in the morning, then it’s time to head to the local Mosque for prayers and well wishes, exchanging some sweets and presents, especially for the little ones. Unique to Britain is the rich diversity one finds in the Mosque all coming together to join in. Community celebrations will be held, the biggest of which is in London’s Trafalgar square with live performances, art works and Eid sweets and treats. After all the communal fun it’s time to head home with the family and round off the days celebrations, possibly with even more tasty food.

TUHANA DIWALI DIYAN BOHT VADHAIYAN ਤੁਹਾਨੂੰ ਦਿਵਾਲੀ ਦੀਆਂ ਬਹੁਤ ਬਹੁਤ ਵਧਾਈਆਂ ਹੋਣ Diwali Greeting in Punjabi

Christians will be celebrating Christmas on December 25th, while many other Brits enjoy the time off work and join in the seasonal spirit. Churches across the UK will hold mass with Christmas prayers on the 24th and 25th to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Christmas cards and well wishes are passed on to neighbours, friends and family. Much like Diwali towns will be lit up in festive colours and streets will be illuminated in cheer. Much like Muslims at Eid, Christians at Christmas take the opportunity to spoil the little ones with sweets and toys. Choirs will entertain people with Christmas songs and amongst the festivity, there will be lots of tasty snacks and food. During festive times, trying to convince a Brit of any denomination they have eaten enough may result in a look of disbelief and shock, if we are not supposed to eat it all then how dare it be so tasty.

SUBHA DIPAWALI KO MANGALMAYA SUBHA KAAMANAA शुभ दिपावलीको मंगलमय शुभ-कामनाDiwali Greeting in Nepali

Image of Celebration on an Indian street
The Birthplace of the Khalsa. Image courtesy of sixty bolts on

In the middle of April it’s time for Sikh’s to celebrate Vaisakhi, the Sikh New Year. Beginning with five traditionally dressed Sikhs starting off from a Sikh temple to lead processions through town. Again celebrated in Trafalgar square with Bhangra music and live performances. Large celebrations are also held In Birmingham with stalls, music and of course more food. In Wolverhampton Sikhs will be parading through the town as onlookers cheer and join in the days festivities. British Sikh’s have of course seized upon the day to hold 5-a-side Vaisakhi football tournaments. What better way for Brits to celebrate than with a kickaround.

It certainly seems like we all enjoy a colourful, musical good time. The bright lights at Diwali and Christmas, the public performances during Eid and Vaisakhi, the tradition of the feast at all of these festivals provides much cheer. The diversity of our faiths, all teaching us to love and not judge one another allow for us all to benefit from these jovial and spiritual bursts of joy throughout the year (not just December). Being such a religiously diverse and rich nation we have plenty of reason for cheer, festivities and well wishing among Brits. Fireworks, prayers, bright displays, town lights, presents and many, many, tasty treats make us one very festive and well fed nation indeed.

Merry multiple celebrations everyone!!

By Ian Warrett

Leave a reply

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *