Hundreds turn out to Diwali celebrations in Bexleyheath
PUBLISHED: 15:37 16 October 2017 | UPDATED: 15:37 16 October 2017
Children put on a Ramayana musical performance
A celebration of the Hindu holiday of Diwali lit up a Bexleyheath school at the weekend.
Hundreds turned out to Townley Grammar School to celebrate the festival of lights, at an event which saw ritual offerings, musical performances and food shared.
The event on Saturday was opened by a unique ritual, which saw offers made to a fire to appease Hanuman, the Hindu god of courage.
Students from the girls’ grammar then spoke before the 750 local residents present, about the meaning of light in different religions.
In the northern hemisphere, Diwali always takes place in the autumn, as the days grow shorter, with the festival celebrating the triumph of light over darkness and good over evil.
Saturday’s main event saw 50 children put on a spectacular musical performance of the Ramayana - the story behind Diwali.
An ancient Indian poem, the Ramayana depicts the struggle of the divine prince Rama to rescue his wife Sita from the demon King Ravana.
First secretary of the Indian High Commission, Soumendra Mahapatra, praised the children’s Ramayana play performance.
Food was shared amongst visitors at the event, which was organised by the Devasya Foundation, a charity which teaches students in the area while also putting on a number of events in the area.
Mayor of Bexley Peter Reader was accompanied by the mayoress at the event.
Councillor Reader gave a speech after the performance, during which he stressed the important of investing in the community and supporting hard to reach groups.
One of the Event organisers, Pritesh Bhudia said: “Once again, people from all parts of the community have come together in large numbers and enjoyed the Diwali celebrations.
“Children from our moral values classes – many as young as four - have worked very hard over the past few months to prepare for the play. I was delighted that they gave an outstanding performance in front of hundreds of people.
“Running this free event on such a large scale has only been possible due to the hard work and dedication of our volunteers.
“I would also like to thank Natwest Private Banking for their kind and generous donation.”