Many of you have probably started counting down the days to Christmas; preparing for weeks of stressful shopping, Christmas Carols and a full day of feasting on Christmas delicacies. We all look forward to the Christmas festivities - even those of us who are not Christians.

Yes. I am one of those who celebrate Christmas simply for the glitz, gifts and gratification. I do not take any religious significance out of the festival because I am a Hindu, meaning that I have several other festivals throughout the year that many of you have probably never even heard of. A festival very near and dear to my heart, one that I look forward to with excitement throughout the year is Diwali, more commonly known as ‘The festival of Lights’. This is one of the most recognised Hindu festivals which makes sense, because it marks the beginning of the Hindu New Year.

Diwali is a time of spirituality and feeling close to God; Diwali is an excuse to spend light-hearted moments with friends and family; Diwali is a time to gorge on a scrumptious selection of traditional Indian sweets. However to me, the most exhilarant aspect to Diwali is the electrifying annual ‘Diwali Party’ held by the ‘Indians in Bromley’ committee since 2007.

The Diwali Party consists of what every party must have: an enticing buffet full of food fit for a King; a wide selection of hair raising performances in the talent competition; a mind blowing collection of music which compels you on to your feet and gets you dancing instantaneously. What else could you possibly need?

This year, held on the 19th of October, the Diwali Party was an astounding success with over 300 people attending whilst partying hard to celebrate the Hindu New Year. Not just the event itself, but the preparations create such a buzz in the community with multitudes of people preparing their dances, songs and plays for the talent competition, each of them striving to win the Final Prize. With 25 acts and participant aging from five year olds to adults, the talent competition is practically bursting to the brim with exuberance, amusement and cheer.

Although all the acts were excellently entertaining, the ones that immediately caught my attention had to be the Classical Kuchipudi dance performed by Avighna, Sanjana, Tanya and Ananya, all eight years old, the solo keyboard medley played by seven year old Debanshi Chatterjee, and the group Bollywood dance medley performed by eight of the adults who came together to perform an unbelievable Grand Finale. However, the tiny showstopper who stole my heart was definitely little Abhyudaya Kamat who surprised everyone with a solo dance at the young age of five.

Other than the talent competition, prizes were also given to the ‘Best traditionally dressed couple’ and the ‘Best Traditionally dressed child’ thus encouraging everyone to gear up in their best Indian sarees and suits for this special event.

This event brings together the whole of the Hindu community in and around Bromley and helps to build relationships whilst people enjoy themselves. I’m sure that all of the attendees of the Diwali Party this year will be drawn back by the content of this evening; however those who have not heard of it before will be lured towards it upon seeing the crisp, clear and captivating photographs of the event, taken by our very own professional photographer.

All of these features encompassed into one event provided an extremely joyful and enchanting evening for all of those who attended and we can only anticipate the wonders that await us next year!