During the final weekend of October, many celebrated Diwali around the world. Diwali, also known as the festival of lights, is a Hindu celebration which remembers the legend of Lord Rama’s defeat of the ten headed king Ravana, an evil spirited demon who captured Rama’s wife, Sita, one day during their 14 year exile in the forest. Rama and Sita return back home, and are guided by Deepavali, a Sanskrit word meaning ‘rows of lighted lamps’, as laid out by the local community who had been eager for their return.

Here in Orpington, the local Hindu community celebrated in an emphatic way. Diwali parties were held at Darrick Wood, Newstead Wood and the Bromley Civic Centre, to name a few, where people came together to mark the occasion with lots of colour, particularly in the clothing they wore. Performances by children and adults alike were given, and succulent, scrumptious Indian dishes and sweets were offered in recognition of global harvest. Celebrations then continued into the night with lots of dancing, laughing and very, very loud Bollywood music! Meanwhile, some conducted celebrations within the confinements of their own homes, inviting families and friends around to sing, dance, wave sparklers around and even light fireworks.

For others, Diwali treated them with the release of several, blockbuster films by renowned Indian actors. ‘Bigil,’ a Tamil film starring the famous actor, aka ‘Thalapathy’ (meaning leader in Tamil) Vijay, had even the largest screens at various cinemas fully booked during the weekend, whilst a string of Bollywood hits, including the likes of Kabir Singh, were released to celebrate India's favourite festival.

Upon interviewing a few students at Saint Olave’s Grammar School, they mentioned that they truly felt the ‘latest Bollywood releases were the lights that flickered and sparked this year.’ However, they also admitted that the parties held were also ‘a main highlight of the occasion’, as it gave them the opportunity to ‘get together and embrace themselves within the celebrations as a community.’ Diwali is a sensational event in the calendar year for many because of the unity and joy it brings with it. Regardless of faith or race, I can assure you that any Hindu would encourage you to celebrate with open arms, as ever since the festival had existed, the celebration strongly enforced the ideas of new beginnings, the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness. I personally love celebrating Diwali, and I can guarantee that if you try celebrating, you will feel the lights that flicker and spark within you too!

By Aaron Sanjeevan, Saint Olave's Grammar School