Also known as the Festival of Lights, Diwali is a major celebration in Hindu culture, in which evil is banished and lamps are lit to symbolise the triumph of good over evil. Diwali is recognised as the Hindu New Year and is also celebrated by Sikhs and Jains.
In London, celebrations actually started earlier this month in Trafalgar Square, on 4 October at Diwali on the Square. I joined LOCOG colleagues at the London 2012 stand to talk to a huge number of people – not only from the Hindu, Jain and Sikh community but from different backgrounds as well. It was a great way to engage with people and to talk about the 2012 Games to a wide audience.
It was great to see a lot of people who had heard about some of our programmes and initiatives and wanted more details about them, whether it was about Trailblazers (which I was very happy to talk about), the Get Set education programme, or the Inspire Mark programme.
In previous years, the date for Diwali has been closer to 5th November (bonfire night) and as both are celebrated with fireworks, it’s often been difficult to make out who is celebrating what.
So if you hear fireworks being set off, or see houses and other premises adorned by lit lamps or people having a good time this weekend, chances are they are celebrating Diwali.