Hundreds of people from the local community came together on Thursday 16 November at Weston Favell Parish Hall to experience the vibrant sounds, flavours and colours of Diwali – ‘the Festival of Light’ – and the Hindu New Year. It was one of the largest devotional celebrations across the Northamptonshire region.
Dipana Patel, a local BAPS volunteer, explained, “Diwali and the Hindu New Year bring values of goodwill, charity and harmony across communities in the UK. As families continue to grapple with challenges, it was heartwarming to bring some festive joy and smiles to the people of Northampton and share memories that will bring hope and light for the rest of the year and beyond.”
The Diwali festivities included the annakut – ‘a mountain of food’ consisting of numerous dishes freshly prepared by devotees – that was artistically arranged as a devotional offering of the first meal of the New Year made in thanksgiving to God.
To add to the festive experience, visitors enjoyed delicious vegetarian sweet and savoury snacks and various souvenirs.
The Mayor of Northampton, Councillor Stephen Hibbert, and Mayoress of Northampton, Councillor Liz Cox, also joined the Hindu New Year celebrations. Nisha Patel, an invited guest, shared, “I thought the Northampton annakut was a beautifully presented display of food offered to God. It was so colourful, with lots of varieties of traditional Indian sweets.”