Diwali festival of light to come to Edinburgh with light shows, food and drink, and a colourful parade

The South Asian festival of Diwali will come to Edinburgh next week in the most culturally diverse programme of events in its five-year history.

Friday, 18th October 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Friday, 18th October 2019, 7:51 am
Dancers from last year's Edinburgh Diwali.

A programme of cultural events and light shows from Wednesday to Friday will be followed by the colourful Diwali Parade, led by the Lord Provost, ending in theatre, music and dances in Princes Street Gardens.

All events are free and open to all, regardless of religious affiliation.

The festival of light will be kicked off with a new ‘Happy Diwali’ sign which will light up the city from Castle Rock from 5pm on Wednesday 23.

Hindu God Ganesh and the Scottish Regiment Band at Edinburgh Diwali in 2018.

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From Wednesday to Friday there will be light shows and cultural performances on Castle Street every day between 5pm and 7pm, and food and drink stalls open 12pm to 10pm.

On Saturday 26 cultural performances outside the city chambers at 1.30pm will be followed by the Edinburgh Diwali Parade, led by the Lord Provost Frank Ross.

The parade, departing at 2.30pm, will feature dancers, pipe bans, floats of the Hindi Gods Ganesha, Hanuman and Shiva, and, this year for the first time, Chinese Dragons and Chinese Lions.

The festival will culminate with a fireworks finale at 7.30pm.

The festival of Diwali is a celebration of light over darkness, which also represents knowledge over ignorance, good over evil, and hope over despair.

It is celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists around the world, which slight variations across each religion.

Edinburgh Diwali has for the last five years been organised by a team of volunteers led by Mohindra Dhall MBE.

She said: “Diwali is the celebration of light over darkness, good over evil, and so many cultures around the world mark this as we go into the dark nights of winter. With such a wide programme of performances and entertainment from many cultures, this year Edinburgh Diwali is making a huge effort to bring communities together. This is truly an event for everyone – so come and celebrate with us.”

The festival is supported by Edinburgh City Council, The National Lottery People’s Project, Virgin Money, Standard Life Aberdeen and Edinburgh University.

The festival has also been working with 27 primary schools across Edinburgh to deliver workshops and activities aimed at helping children to learn about and enjoy other cultures.