Tag Archive: Diwali

Fusion of cultures: Welsh and Indian cultural exchange receives £450K Government Funding

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FUSION OF CULTURES: Indian Honorary Consul to Wales Raj Aggarwal with Carwyn Jones and dancers at the Diwali event last year

FUSION OF CULTURES: Indian Honorary Consul to Wales Raj Aggarwal with Carwyn Jones and dancers at the Diwali event last year

 

Eleven arts projects will get funding to take Welsh culture to India as part of the UK-India 2017 cultural season.

Welsh and Indian creative professionals will travel to each other's countries to work together and produce new works including books, music and dance.

The projects will get a share of the £450,000 India Wales Fund.

It is a joint Wales Arts International and British Council scheme, which aims to help build relationships between the two countries.

Performances will take place in India and Wales and some of the work will be available online, with artists and audiences in both countries benefiting from workshops, tours and talks.

Indian Honorary Consul to Wales, Raj Aggarwal, said: "Wales and India share a love of music, dancing, theatre and literature so this cultural exchange is a fantastic opportunity for each country to share the heritage of each other's performing arts.

"A collaboration of Welsh, English and Bengali writers will bring together the works of six writers with live performance and the publication of a new tri-lingual work.

"This is an amazing opportunity not just to see and enjoy the other country's culture and talent, but to actually work together to create a hybrid from the two that fuse our nation's cultures in the future."

The projects include: Theatr Iolo will work with ThinkArts, an Indian company that produces arts events for children, to develop new theatre for babies and youngsters

Parthian Books will work with India's Bee Books on their project Through the Valley, City, Village, which will see Indian and Welsh writers working together in Bengal and Wales to produce a new book

Welsh theatre company Living Pictures will tour India with their production Diary of a Madman, working with Indian company QTP Entertainment to provide technical skills workshops - a performance will take place at the Tata Steel-sponsored Literature Live event in Mumbai.

The full list of selected projects will be announced at the Wales Millennium Centre by Economy Secretary Ken Skates.

He said: "The UK-India Year of Culture 2017 offers an important opportunity for Wales and India to refresh and strengthen these links and also to create new dynamic connections and creative collaborations.”

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Lantern loveliness: Kids create their own luminous lights for Diwali

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CREATIVE: The kids enjoyed getting messy painting and making lanterns powered by LED lights

CREATIVE: The kids enjoyed getting messy painting and making lanterns powered by LED lights

Diwali is known around the world as the ‘Festival of Light’.

With that ‘bright’ fact in mind, one Huddersfield Gurdwara went the extra mile to ensure their youngest members engaged with all of this year’s festivities by hosting lantern making workshops.

Hardeep Bhangra, education secretary at the Guru Nanak Gurdwara on Prospect Street, headed up the initiative this year, helping dozens of children create a special Diwali memory.

BEAUTIFUL: An array of lanterns that the children made during Diwali

BEAUTIFUL: An array of lanterns that the children made during Diwali

He explained: “Every year at the temple we have Diwali celebrations.

“We have lots of lovely food and a fantastic fireworks display, however, this year; we wanted to do something a little bit different. So I decided to do a lantern making workshop.

“We used little LED lights so that it was safe for the kids and around 50 children in total made the lanterns.

“It was nice for them to sit down and do something creative amongst all the hustle and bustle of the festivities.”

Hardeep is no stranger to creative workshops, having been the head of many projects at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park in the past.

He continued: “I think it brings an element of creativity to the day. It gives the kids a chance to physically make something too.

“They were able to take the lanterns home too, so they can remember this special day.”

The workshop ran smoothly but with access to an array of gloopy paints, it wasn’t exactly a ‘mess-free’ experience.

Hardeep laughed: “I had about three tables and we had to condense it, it was getting out of hand. As soon as they got the paints out, it really kicked off.”

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Diwali lights up Yorkshire: Hindus, Sikhs and Jains celebrate annual festival

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TRADITIONAL CELEBRATIONS: Crowds enjoyed the rhythmic drumming in the Shree Lakshmi Narayan Hindu Temple

TRADITIONAL CELEBRATIONS: Crowds enjoyed the rhythmic drumming in the Shree Lakshmi Narayan Hindu Temple

Diwali, the Festival of Light, rolled around once again in all its candlelit glory last weekend as the people of Yorkshire have been swapping gifts, setting off fireworks and sharing food and drink in celebration.

Commemorated every year by Sikhs, Hindus and Jains, the date is one which sees families come together for a day of celebration, and is known as the Festival of Light.

CANDELIT FESTIVITIES: Families love lighting candles together to mark this special time of the year (Photo credit: B.S. Dev)

CANDELIT FESTIVITIES: Families love lighting candles together to mark this special time of the year (Photo credit: B.S. Dev)

The word ‘Diwali’ translates into ‘row of lights’ and celebrants decorate the indoors and outdoors with beautiful rows of flickering candles, lanterns and electric lights.

Families also light up the night with bonfires and create beautiful flower displays.

Those who attended the Shree Lakshmi Narayan Hindu temple on Leeds Road in Bradford were treated to a play explaining the meaning of Diwali, performed by youngsters.

Ravinder Dharni was amongst those in attendance and praised the young actors for their ‘exceptional performance’.

“The children performed on Saturday in front of over 1,200 people,” he said. “The play portrayed the meaning of Diwali.

“The children who performed were from the summer club and they now attend our drama club that teaches children all our important dates and festivals in our Hindu calendar.”

He added: “The costumes were even imported from India to give it a more realistic feel and the children were incredible and loved every moment. The fireworks were fantastic too.”

diwali-sikh-family-299x450Following the performances, a cheque was also handed over to the temple by members of the summer club for £500.

Elsewhere in Leeds, The Sikh Temple Gurdwara on Chapeltown Road was a sight to behold, with the exterior decorated in glimmering lights.

Bhupinder Singh Dev, a north Leeds resident, said: “I love celebrating Bhandi Chhor Divas and Diwali with my family by lighting candles at The Sikh Temple Gurdwara, which looks even more beautiful when illuminated at night.”

The Indian festival, which falls on a different date every year but this year was on 30th October, was attended by millions in Sikh and Hindu temples across the UK.

Also known as Deepavali, the event is a celebration of the triumph of light over darkness, and good over evil.

It is an official holiday in Fiji, Guyana, India, Pakistan, Malaysia, Mauritius, Myanmar, Nepal, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.

The date of the festival is calculated according to the position of the moon. It is based on the Hindu lunar calendar, called Tithi, which calculates events on the moon's rotation around Earth.

 FESTIVITIES: Diwali was celebrated by both young and old throughout the UK

FESTIVITIES: Diwali was celebrated by both young and old throughout the UK

The origin of Diwali in Hinduism

Diwali -the celebration of light - traditionally relates to the legend of Prince Rama and his wife Princess Sita.

According to folklore, the pair were banished from their kingdom for 14 years by Rama's stepmother.

The couple went to live in the forest not knowing that a feared king with 20 arms and 10 heads lived there.

The king called Ravana kidnapped the princess, but Sita left a trail of her jewellery for Rama to find her. The prince enlisted the help of the monkey king Hanuman to find his beloved wife, with messages sent to all the monkeys in the kingdom and passed on to the bears too.

After a long search Rama found Sita and killed Ravana. The couple travelled back to their homeland and everyone lit up oil lamps to guide them along the way and welcome them home.

Diwali also honours Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth.

ILLUMINATED: The Sikh Temple Gurdwara on Chapeltown Road looked resplendent with its display mesmerising lights(Photo credit: B.S. Dev)

ILLUMINATED: The Sikh Temple Gurdwara on Chapeltown Road looked resplendent with its display mesmerising lights (Photo credit: B.S. Dev)

The origin of Diwali in Sikhism

For Sikhs, Diwali is particularly important because it celebrates the release from prison of the sixth guru, Guru Hargobind, and 52 other princes with him, in 1619.

The Sikh tradition believes that the Emperor Jahangir had imprisoned Guru Hargobind and 52 princes. The Emperor was asked to release Guru Hargobind which he agreed to do.

However, Guru Hargobind asked that the princes should be realeased, too.

The Emperor agreed, but said only those who could hold onto the tail of his cloak would be allowed to leave the prison, drastically limiting the number of prisoners that could escape.

Luckily, Guru Hargobind was ‘ahead of the game’ and had a cloak made with 52 pieces of string and so each prince was able to hold onto one string and leave prison.

Sikhs celebrated the return of Guru Hargobind by lighting the Golden Temple and this tradition continues today.

Prime Minister Theresa May’s Diwali Message:

“I am delighted to send my very best wishes to everyone celebrating Diwali, a festival which holds such significance for so many people.

“Indeed, right across the world, lights decorate the streets, flowers adorn homes, treats are served and presents exchanged – all marking the triumph of light over darkness.

“But the festival of lights isn’t just relevant for Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists. It is relevant to all of us, those of all faiths and none. We can all learn from the example set by Lord Rama, whose return from exile is marked by these 5 holy days.

“That epic story teaches us about building strong families and communities, shunning wrongdoing and evil, and choosing the right path. It promotes the values of service, responsibility, unity and tolerance.

“We need those values more than ever as we build a country that works for everyone – a country where no matter what your faith, your beliefs or your background, you can reach your full potential.

“In Britain’s Indian communities, we can see the good that can be done when people’s talents are unleashed.

“I think of all those running their own businesses, taking risks and working hard so that they can provide for their families and take on staff.

“I think of all those public servants whose hard work and dedication makes our hospitals, schools, police forces and armed forces what they are today.

“I think of the volunteers who give up their own time to look after elderly neighbours or help provide food for families who are less well off. These people are the backbone of our communities.

“And I will be so proud to highlight the achievements of British Indians next month when I make my first official visit to India as Prime Minister at the invitation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, celebrating the relations between our countries and our shared ambitions for the future.

“As we start the Hindu New Year, it is an occasion for people to reflect on the 12 months that have passed and look to the opportunities ahead.

“So as friends and families come together, in reflection and celebration, let me wish you all a Shubh Deepawali and send my good wishes to Sikhs celebrating Bandi Chhor Diwas too.”

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Diwali with the Bachchans

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THE BACHCHANS: Aishwarya Rai and husband Abhishek Bachchan welcomed their guests to the party at their home

THE BACHCHANS: Aishwarya Rai and husband Abhishek Bachchan welcomed their guests to the party at their home

Tinsel town’s hottest celebs at big festive bash!

Amitabh Bachchan held his annual Diwali party at the most-famous Bachchan residence in Mumbai, last week.

With legends from every corner of tinsel town being spotted, the guest list included Shah Rukh Khan, Gauri Khan, Salman Khan, Deepika Padukone and her beau Ranveer Singh making an appearance in the same car looking rather royal, Bajrao Mastani was written all over the duos outfits!

While Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif also kept it low key on their arrival together, but still managed to smile at the paparazzi in style.

The grand affair brought together every bollywoodian’s dream of all the stars that we admire in one big bash!

With Deepika and Kareena Kapoor wearing the same designer Sabyasachi, Deepika attended the Bachchan bash in a black and gold sari accessorising with trendy Amrapali jewels. Kareena decided to celebrate the occasion with her family and friends, in a private affair, possibly in a ‘Nawab’ style.

The highlight of the night was Sonakshi Sinha’s selfie that went viral on social media, after it was posted on Instagram by Shilpa Shetty. With Sonakshi posing like a true ‘selfie queen’ and photo bombing the selfie that included, Preity Zinta, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Hrithik Roshan, Shilpa Shetty and well known designer Manish Malhotra. We have to say it looks like they all had a blast!

PHOTOBOMB: Sonakshi Sinha photobombed Shilpa Shetty's pic with Preity Zinta, Aishwarya Rai, Manish Malhotra and Hrithik Roshan

PHOTOBOMB: Sonakshi Sinha photobombed Shilpa Shetty's pic with Preity Zinta, Aishwarya Rai, Manish Malhotra and Hrithik Roshan

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Happy Diwali: Hindus, Sikhs and Jains celebrate annual holiday

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CELEBRATIONS: On the third day of Diwali, Hindus mark the festival of Lakshmi Puja with celebrations in the temple

CELEBRATIONS: On the third day of Diwali, Hindus mark the festival of Lakshmi Puja with celebrations in the temple

Millions of people around the world marked the annual festival of Diwali last week as celebrations were seen across different countries, different continents and different faith groups.

Commemorated every year by Sikhs, Hindus and Jains, the date is one which sees families come together for a day of celebration, and is known as the Festival of Light.

For Hindus, Diwali represents the day that Lord Rama brought his wife, Sita, and brother, Lakshmana, back to the kingdom after spending 14 years in exile in the forest.

For Sikhs, it is an occasion celebrated to mark the release of Guru Hargobind, the sixth guru, who was wrongfully imprisoned by an emperor.

In a message to all celebrating the occasion, British Prime Minister David Cameron praised the contribution different religious groups made to the nation and wished them ‘Shubh Diwali’.

In a statement he said: “Families are coming together, lights are being strung up, the food is going in the oven, Diwali is upon us once again.

“As the celebrations get underway, from London to Leicester, Glasgow to Gwent, Bristol to Birmingham, I want to send out my very best wishes to everyone celebrating the Festival of Lights.

RELIGION: Crowds gathered at temples across the world to mark the Festival of Lights

RELIGION: Crowds gathered at temples across the world to mark the Festival of Lights

“This is a great moment in our national calendar and an opportunity to shine a light on the communities who do so much to make Britain great.

“In every walk of life, in every corner of our country, you can see the immense contribution of Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists.

“Treating patients in our NHS, teaching children in our schools, building the businesses that boost our economy, keeping our streets safe in the police and armed forces and all the while helping to make Britain what we are so proud to be: the greatest multi-racial democracy on earth.

LIGHTS: An important part of the Diwali celebrations are the candles

LIGHTS: An important part of the Diwali celebrations are the candles

“Day in day out, these communities put into practice the very best of British values like generosity, responsibility, enterprise, family. Nowhere are those values more evident than in people’s religious beliefs.

“I think of the people of Neasden Mandir or those at Gurdwara Sahib Leamington and Warwick, demonstrating every day the devotion and dedication they derive from their faith by helping others.

“I want to thank all of them for their incredible contribution to Britain. We are better and stronger for it.

“And to everyone celebrating, let me wish you a happy and peaceful Diwali and a prosperous New Year. Shubh Diwali.”

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