Peterborough Diwali Festival
Divinity is "Unity in Diversity"
Cathedral Square, Peterborough, UK
27​th October 2018​​
About Us
Peterborough is a multicultural vibrant city in Cambridgeshire. Towards the later half of the twentieth century, the city witnessed immigration from new Commonwealth countries and recently  due to the European Union policies and  business  recruitments. Its location, diversity and adaptability are Peterborough's strengths. Peterborough is home to a large number of people who have roots in India , Nepal and Sri Lanka.
Ratilal Joshi, Nirubhai Trivedi and Rajni Reddy , who had worked together for other events in the City,  recognised the need for a common celebration, to bring all the different communities connected to the sub continent together on a single platform. Thus the concept of Peterborough Diwali Festival was visualised and with the active support of the Peterborough City Council, the first event was held at Cathedral Square in the City Centre in 2013. It proved to be a resounding success and achieved the purpose of promoting cohesion between the communities whilst simultaneously showcasing cultural heritage to the other local communities.. Representatives from each community work with the management committee in planning  and delivering every detail of the event, dedicatedly working throughout the year as one big happy family.
 
Supported by:
Peterborough City Council
 
Chairman's Message
 
Diwali, unarguably, is the most important and most beautiful festival for Hindu community. Popularly known as the ‘Festival of lights’, Diwali brings together not just families and friends but people from all castes and creeds. It raises spirit of friendship and unity among all the other cultures.
Following the successful innaguration of Diwali in 2013 - The Peterborough Diwali Festival Committee together with the support of Peterborough City Council, all well-wishers and supporters are delighted to return with  Diwali Celebration for the 4th Year. A vibrant display of  culture, traditions, costumes, food, music, dance and much more. 
We look forward to welcoming you on 14th October at Cathedral Square and be apart of this celebration of new beginnings.
Wishing you all a very Happy Diwali and a prosperous New Year.
 
Ratilal Joshi
Chairman (Peterborough Diwali Festival Committee)
About Diwali
Diwali or Deepavali means A Cluster Of Lights or ‘a row of lamps’ It is one of the most important festivals celebrated by  the Hindu diaspora all over the world.. Traditionally, a number of small earthenware lamps known as Diyas are filled with oil and cotton wicks that are soaked in the oil are lighted to form a beautiful array of lights.  In this millennium Diwali is enthusiastically celebrated by people of all nationalities, races and religions, Diwali, the festival of lights creates a magical world of joy and festivity. It celebrates the triumphant victory of good over evil – and the glory of light over darkness, a beam of hope over despair. Diwali marks a new beginning, a renewal of commitment to family values, and represents all the good virtues we seek such as love, reflection, forgiveness and knowledge.   The festival is celebrated in various ways by different communities.
 
Diwali for Gujaratis  
Gujaratis  celebrate Diwali as a five day event.
1st day : Diwali is on the last day of the dark fortnight of the last month of the Hindu calendar, which usually falls in October or November months of the Gregorian calendar. The first day  is on the 13th day of the dark fortnight of Aso month, called Dhanteras, when people clean their homes, cook festive snacks and sweets, decorate the front  of their houses with a colourful pattern called Rangoli and with flowers.. This is the day of the  birth of Goddess Lakshmi who is the goddess of luck and wealth.. People  buy gold and silver and perform Lakshmi Pooja in the evening.
2nd Day is the 14th day of the dark fortnight which is called the Narak Chaturdashi or Kali Chaudash. On this day the demon Narkasur was killed by Lord Krishna, freeing 16000 women that he had held hostage. This day symbolises destruction of evil so as to welcome the goodness of the new dawn.
Diwali Day –Legends proclaim that during  the  last day of the dark fortnight of the last month of the year, Goddess Lakshmi  descends to the earth and people open  their doors and windows to welcome Lakshmi into their homes. Business people  perform Chopda Poojan of their books, so as to be blessed with  wealth. Diwali day is also believed to be celebrated to mark the home coming of Lord Rama after 14 years of exile by lighting  oil lamps throughout their kingdom.. People wear new clothes, exchange gifts of sweets and dried fruits, and enjoy playing with firecrackers.
New Year’s Day – 4th day of the festival is the start of the New Year. This day signifies the protection offered by Lord Krishna to protect cowherds from the wrath of Lord Indra who sent a terrible deluge of rain amd storm. Lord Krishna lifted the Goverdhan Mountain with his little finger to shelter the people. In temples this day is celebrated by offering mountains of delicious food to Lord Krishna and is known as Annakoot.
5th & final day of the celebration is caleed Bhai Dhooj. It  symbolises  the bond between brothers and sisters. The belief is that on this day Yama – God of Death visited his sister Yami  showering her with gifts and promised that anyone visiting his sister with gifts and getting a tilak from her will be blessed on that day. Brothers proudly dine at their sisters’ home on this day.
Diwali for Sikhs
The third Sikh Guru Amar Dasji institutionalized Diwali as a Red-Letter Day when all Sikhs would gather to receive the Guru’s blessings.In1577, the foundation stone of the Golden Temple at Amritsar was laid during Diwali. In 1619, on Diwali day, the sixth Sikh Guru Hargobindji, who was held captive by the Mughal Emperor Jahangir, was released from the Gwalior Fort along with 52 kings in 1619.. Hence Diwali is celebrated as Bandi Chor Diwas by the Sikh diaspora all over the world. .  The Sikh tradition holds 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 be released also. The Emperor agreed, but said only those who could hold onto his cloak tail would be allowed to leave the prison. This was in order to limit the number of prisoners who could leave. However, Guru Hargobind had a robe  made with 52 pieces of fabric and so each prince was able to hold onto one piece and leave the prison.
 
Diwali for Bengalis
Diwali is characterised as a ‘festival of lights’ symbolising victory of Good over Evil. It is a major social event in the Bengali calendar.  Bengalis everywhere celebrate Diwali with a great sense of devotion, excitement and enthusiasm. Naturally, West Bengal, where the majority of Bengalis are, is the epicentre of this event, but it stretches out to almost all corners of the globe where Bengalis live.. The first day of the Diwali festival begins with the lighting of lamps in every household and business enterprises. Diwali celebration coincides with Kali Puja held on the second day of the 3-day long Diwali festival. It is believed that on this day, Ma Kali, the goddess of power, killed the wicked demon called Raktavija. The Kali Puja is marked by lighting lamps and offering puja to this deity considered as the fearsome  incarnation of Goddess Durga. Ma Kali is believed to be the destroyer of all evils. Bengalis traditionally believe that worshipping her during Diwali harbours a revival of justice, peace and harmony in this world.
 
Diwali for Nepalese
Nepalese celebrate Diwali as the Tihar festival. The five day festival of lights is dedicated not only to Gods, but also to animals such cows and dogs and to crows who are an integral part of daily human lives.
 
Diwali for Tamilians
Known as Deepavali in TamilNadu, it commemorates the death of Narakasura at the hands of Lard Sri Krishna.  It is belived that Narakasura, a malevolent demon, tortured common people and they prayed to lord Krishna to defeat him.  The people then celebrated Narakasura's defeat with sparklers, lights and firecrackers.  This celebration has the continued down the generations as Deepavali.  In TamilNadu, Deepavali falls on the 14th day preceding the mavasya (new Moon) in the solar month of Aippasi.  The day begins with an early morning oil bath, wearing new clothes, bursting of firecrackers, visiting Lord Ganesha, Lord Vishnu and Shiva Temples.  The exchange of sweets between neighbours, visiting relations, and preparing Deepavali special sweets are traditions of the day. 
 
Diwali for others
It is a special day for the Jains because Mahavir Tirthankar, considered to be the found of modern Jainism attained Samadhi (union with Gord).  Likewise, it was on this day when Swami Dayananda Saraswathi, one of the greatest reformers of Hinduism and the founder of Arya Samaj attained his Samadhi
 
Apart from dressing up in new clothes and indulging in Sumptuous meals, Diwali is also a time for reflection, forgiveness, family re-union and more importantly a time to seek spiritual enlightenment and salvation

Management Committee

Chairman : Ratilal Joshi    
 
Co-Chairman : Nirubhai Trivedi
 
Secretary : Rajni Reddy    
 
Treasurer : Ramnikbhai Mashru
Bharat Hindu Samaj
Jayshree Mehta
Usha Trivedi    

Peterborough Nepalese Society  
Pawan Sharma
Meena Thapa
Nripesh Upreti 
Peterborough Anglia Sikh Association  
Sewa Singh Nanuwa 
Amrik Singh Sangha
 
Tamil Community
S Kuharajah
Urmila Kuharajah 
Raja S Alagappan
TCM Rajkumar
 
Telugu Community
Dr K Subhash
P Nagasayan