December 5 2013 Latest news:
Harry Kemble, Reporter
Sunday, October 27, 2013
Redbridge is preparing for an array of illuminations to light up the borough as Diwali celebrations begin next week.
Hindus, Jains and Sikhs will join together for the five-day festival, which begins on November 2 in the UK.
The festivities once again show how embedded Diwali has become in British society, with fireworks being let off from the Exchange Ilford shopping centre.
Dharmesh Mishra, 49, priest at the Vinayagar Ganesh Temple, Ley Street, Ilford, said: “When I first came to Ilford 12 years ago we only went to the town hall, now Hindus can go and celebrate from the Exchange to Trafalgar Square during Diwali.”
Some communities have already got their celebrations under way.
The Chigwell Indian Association marked the event on Chigwell Green in Brook Parade, on Sunday, where lights were turned on by the chairman of Epping Forest District Council, Mary Sartin. Anupam Sood, the association’s chairman, said: “The lights going on before November 2 will hopefully raise awareness in the community. It is just like Christmas lights going on three weeks before December 25.”
Jewish, Hindu, Christian and Sikh leaders all attended. Mr Sood, of Meadow Way, Chigwell, added: “To give another perspective on how much Diwali has grown – a year ago it would be unimaginable to have lights on Chigwell Green. It certainly has become more permanent [in the calendar].
“I could not give you a better example than Chigwell. I hope that one day we can have a community multi-faith event. We want people to live in harmony. Everyone has their beliefs, but there is no reason why people cannot celebrate together.”