Diwali, the Festival of Lights, is one of the most important festivals in Indian culture and, thanks to the efforts of the Lord Provost and Festival organiser Mohindra Dhall, has become one of the most anticipated events in the Edinburgh calendar.
Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists will mark the festivities by decorating their streets, lighting candles and lanterns and exchanging gifts – including food and goods for those in need – and attend celebratory events.
Although each religion marks different historical events and legends as part of their Diwali celebrations, they all represent the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil, and hope over despair.
The story of Lord Rama, whose return from exile is marked by fireworks, teaches us about building strong families and communities and promotes the values of unity, tolerance, duty and service – messages that resonate more with me now than perhaps at any other time in my life.
Very much a family affair, the festival is celebrated by millions of people across the world and I am delighted that Edinburgh will be once again marking India’s most famous festival with the Edinburgh Diwali-Festival of Lights on the 3rd of November.
The Royal Mile will become a wall of colour and the celebrations will start with a procession of pipers, dancers and lanterns from City Chambers.
There will be dancing in Castle Street and the celebrations will come to a fabulous and colourful close with singing, dancing and fireworks lighting up the night sky in Princes Street Gardens.
Edinburgh has a strong and vibrant Indian community and Edinburgh Diwali welcomes members of all communities, backgrounds and beliefs to join in with the festivities.
It really is about inclusivity and bringing people together which is why Virgin Money is one of a number of proud companies supporting the Diwali celebrations in Edinburgh.
My husband, Ashok, first introduced me to the richness and diversity of Indian culture over thirty-five years ago and it’s something that I cherish deeply.
Diwali offers the opportunity to discover and experience the vibrancy of India and I encourage everyone to celebrate with us at this year’s Edinburgh Diwali.
Happy Diwali from everyone at Virgin Money.