Performances by dancers from Jammu and Kashmir are among a range of events planned for the annual Diwali at Trafalgar Square – now in its 15th year – on October 16, when the popular London square will host a mass celebration of Indian culture and cuisine.
It will be London mayor Sadiq Khan’s first Diwali event. Launched as an annual event in 2001 by former Labour mayor Ken Livingstone, the event has attracted increasing numbers over the years and become a prominent feature in London’s annual cultural calendar.
Khan said: “London is open to all people and all communities – we don’t just tolerate each other’s’ differences, we embrace them. Nowhere is this more apparent than in London’s joyous celebration of Diwali in Trafalgar Square.
“Here, London’s Hindu, Jain and Sikh communities come together to celebrate and to share the festivities with Londoners and visitors of all backgrounds. Diwali’s central message of peace and mutual respect is one that we can all learn from. To all those celebrating this month, I wish you a very happy and enjoyable Diwali.”
Khan will open the event by lighting a special Diwali lamp. He will be joined by Indore-origin deputy mayor for business, Rajesh Agrawal. Several London-based organisations are among the event’s organisers.
Besides Bollywood music and garba, an Indian street food market will offer a variety of vegetarian food and non-alcoholic drinks. Revellers will have the chance to don a sari, learn a Bollywood dance, and participate in yoga and meditation sessions for beginners, organisers said.