Hundreds of people from the local community came together on Tuesday 7 November at Corn Market 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.
Yashna 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 Kettering and Corby 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.
Councillor Dr Anup Pandey also joined the Hindu New Year celebrations. He shared, “Annakut, a joyous Hindu festival, takes on greater significance and fun when celebrated with strong community support, particularly through the vibrant gatherings organized by BAPS. This festival, also known as Govardhan Puja, involves the offering of a diverse array of food items to deities, symbolizing gratitude for the harvest and emphasizing the importance of nature's abundance.”