23 October 2018   |  Last Updated 18-12-2014 10:15

      Monday 13, October 2014

      WATCH: Thousands celebrate Dashehra and Diwali Mela Festival

      MORE than 7.000 people gathered at Manchester's Albert Square on Saturday to celebrate the Hindu festivals of Dashehra and Diwali.

      Both festivals commemorate the victory of good-over-evil and are major events for the 200,000 members of Greater Manchester’s Indian and Nepalese communities.


      The event was organised jointly by Manchester City Council and Manchester Indian Association.

      Rajyashree Dutta, president of the Indian Association in Manchester, said: “The performances were amazing, the day went really well. Everyone enjoyed the finale show.

      “The two festivals are celebrated all over the world - it’s a bit like Christmas for Christians."

      The action-packed day started with live bhangra and bollywood dances and performances by the award-winning band B21, Sona Walia, Jas of Asian Entertainment UK and more.

      There were also plenty of stalls selling a variety of authentic Indian food, clothes, jewellery and accessories. Other activities included henna and face painting, lantern making and other workshops.

      The festival ended with "The Magic  of Sanjeevani", a spectacular outdoor theatre show created by the Salford-based Walk the Plank and London-based Nutkhut creative arts companies.

      With storytelling, dance and fireworks they recreated the story of the warrior Lakshman and how he was saved by the monkey god Hanuman:

      Shruti Sundaraman, a 27-year-old radio presenter, explained how the Diwali festival is celebrated in South India: “On the day of Diwali we wake up before the sun rise, have shower and dress in new clothes and then we head out to burst crackers. It is family’s pride to burst fancy and loud crackers.

      “The essence of Diwali is to spend time with family, friends and neighbors, burst a lot of crackers and cherish homemade sweets made by mom which I am going to miss a lot here!

      “This is going to be my first Diwali in Manchester. We are planning to get together with our other Indian friends and head to Geeta Bhavan temple at Whalley Range. They have planned the day with lots of Indian performances, food and bursting of crackers in the evening. We are looking forward to that !“

       by Stanislava Antova