Northampton, UK… The Indian Hindu Welfare Organisation (IHWO) is hosting its 9th annual Diwali Lights Festival in Northampton town centre on 10 October 2009. The event has grown year on year and has now become one of the town’s most colourful and vibrant events, which last year attracted thousands of spectators during the course of the day.

Diwali is the most popular of the Hindu festivals and is described as the “Festival of Light” as it signifies the triumph of light over darkness and good over evil. According to Hindu legend the wife of the godly prince Lord Ram was kidnapped by a demon named Ravan. Lord Ram and his army then fought with and defeated Ravan during an epic battle and princess Sita was reunited with Lord Ram. On Lord Ram and princess Sita’s return home people lit oil lantern’s along their path to illuminate it. Hence, to this day people light oil lanterns and candles during Diwali. Diwali is celebrated over five days with day four marking the Hindu New Year.

The event on 10 October will begin at 1pm and run through to 8.30pm in Northampton town centre’s Market Square and Fish Market Galleries. The event will start in the Market Square with a range of traditional Indian workshops, including Henna tattooing, “Rangoli” art and Diwali card workshop, “how to wear a Sari” demonstration and various traditional music and dance performances. There will also be Indian food stalls. The highlight of the event will be the now famous Diwali Lantern Procession, which will leave the Fish Market Galleries at 6pm and parade its way through the town centre followed by hundreds of people. As with last year’s event IHWO has secured the expertise of the famous carnival arts company – Festive Road, which has helped IHWO to create impressive displays for this year’s procession. The procession will draw to a close in the Market Square where people will then witness the official switching on of the Diwali lights followed by an Indian “bhangra” party.

“Such events give us, the Hindu community, a chance to share our world with the wider community in Northampton. The event on 10 October will be a fun and colourful day out for the whole family with various activities for children and adults to take part in. This includes take-part demonstrations, competitions, Indian music and dance, the vibrant procession and of course our delicious authentic cuisine,” said Neelam Aggarwal, Chairperson at IHWO.

Cllr Paul Varnsverry, Cabinet Member for Communities at Northampton Borough Council, added: “The wonderful selection of activities that are taking place on the Market Square will really bring communities together and showcase some special Hindu traditions to the people of Northampton. The borough council is very proud to support the Diwali Lights celebrations and I hope anyone who hasn’t witnessed this colourful annual event before will come into town on Saturday. It is always a visual and cultural treat for people of all ages.”