Thousands of people in the West Midlands will be celebrating Diwali on Tuesday.
The ‘Festival of Lights’ symbolises the triumph of good over evil and is celebrated by members of the Hindu, Jain and Sikh communities. It also marks the Hindu New Year of 2065.
On Sunday, top British Asian artists Jay Sean and Raghav will take to the stage in Birmingham at an event sponsored by B4UTonline.com.
Organised jointly by the Hindu Council of Birmingham and Birmingham City Council, the festivities will be held at Millennium Point from 3pm to 7pm and will include a sports zone with cricket, football and kabaddi demonstrations, a marketplace to buy late Diwali or early Christmas gifts, fun fair rides, and a fireworks display.
Mahendra Dabhi, president of the Hindu Council of Birmingham, said: “This is definitely the strongest stage line up we have ever had. It is testament to the quality and growing reputation of the West Midlands’ biggest Diwali celebration that such great artists are willing to come and perform.
“The B4U Diwali extravaganza will have a huge number of attractions to suit all members of the family and all members of the community and this joyous celebration that symbolises the power of good to triumph over evil has significance and meaning for all of Birmingham’s communities.”
Preparations for the festival started at the weekend with many of the 25,000 Hindus in Birmingham flocking to the city’s temples.
On Saturday, worshippers at the Hall Green’s BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir hindu temple marked the start by putting together the Annakut – a grand offering of hundreds of different vegetarian food items.
The food was on display from noon to 8pm, at which point temple-goers got to tuck into what had been gathered.
Vibrant displays, flickering lamps, and classical Indian sounds provided the backdrop for the festival, which ended with a fireworks display.
There was also an exhibition of Indian cultural heritage, with temple-going youngsters giving presentations in both English and Gujarati.
Hall Green dad-of-three Kantilal Mistry, aged 53, was there with his 51-year-old wife, Laxmi, and two of their daughters – 24-year-old Venisha and 17-year-old Raksha.
He said: “It’s absolutely fantastic and the exhibition covered so many aspects of Indian life.”
The family were among around 4,000 visitors to the temple throughout the day, including Birmingham’s Lord Mayor, Chauhdry Rashid, and Solihull Mayor David Stewart Bell.
Temple co-ordinator Vasant Parikh said: “We’ve had lots of Indian people here as you’d expect, but what’s nice is to have seen see so many English people as well.”