Dancers, music, lanterns, fireworks, puppets and four giant Hindu Gods... it could only be Edinburgh’s celebration of Diwali, the South Asian Festival of Light, at the weekend.
A spectacular parade started from outside the City Chambers with seven pipe bands, led by the band of the Royal Regiment of Scotland, and seven groups of folk dancers showcasing dance from India, Scotland and Cuba. The parade featured four giant Hindu Gods: Ganesha, the Elephant God; Hanuman, the Monkey God and Commander in Chief of Rama’s Army; Shiva, the God that destroys and transforms the Universe; and the centrepiece float of Rama’s Horse-drawn Chariot carrying Rama, his wife Sita, his brother Lakshman and Hanuman returning from exile after killing Demon God Ravana.
The parade culminated in Castle Street before the celebrations moved onto the Ross Bandstand in West Princes Street Gardens with entertainment from A Taste of Bollywood to a dramatic enactment of the Return of Rama from Exile.
Diwali is celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists around the world.
City culture convener Donald Wilson said: “Edinburgh is the world’s festival city, which offers us the ideal platform to not only promote Scottish traditions, but those of other faiths and countries. Festivals like Diwali let Edinburgh’s community groups share their own cultural celebrations, in a way which welcomes others to join in and immerse themselves in different customs.”