Festival lights up Rusholme

By Jonathan Levy

BANG: Fireworks were set off to celebrate Diwali, the festival of lights.

BANG: Fireworks were set off to celebrate Diwali, the festival of lights.

THIS year’s Diwali celebrations went off with a bang in Platt Field’s Park, Rusholme, when a gigantic effigy of a demon Hindu king was set alight.

The 30ft statue was built in the likeness of King Ravan, a 10-headed demon, and was on fire as part of Dashehra Diwali Mela celebration on Saturday 3 October 2009.

Crowds, from a number of communities and faiths, gathered in their thousands to witness the impressive burning and firework show, and to get into the spirit of the festival.

There were a number of other forms of entertainment on hand for the crowds to enjoy including Bollywood performers, a lantern procession, an Indian brass band and authentic dancers.

Manchester Mouth spoke to Channi Singh, of the Asian pop music group Alaap, who performed Bollywood and bhangra songs at the mela.

He was delighted to be performing, describing the festival as “a marvellous occasion which seeks to promote peace and harmony”.

Children from St Catherine’s RC Primary School, Didsbury, St Paul’s CE Primary School and St Cuthbert’s RC Primary School, both in Withington, Sure Start Children’s Centre, and Ashbury Meadow Children’s Centre, Beswick, worked hard to put together an impressive lantern procession, which was led by Bombay Baja Brass Band.

Everybody enjoyed the fireworks which were set off the highlight Diwali, the festival of light, and the variety of traditional Indian foods which were available were also well received.

Also in attendence was Lord Mayor Alison Firth, she said:“This event is a wonderful opportunity for all communities to come together and celebrate the richness and diversity of Manchester. I am privileged to attend and wish everyone a harmonious and peaceful Dashehra and Diwali.”

Dashehra and Diwali have religious significance for Hindus, Sikhs and Jains. The mela, which officially kicks off in Manchester on Sunday 18 October 2009, celebrates the day when Hindu hero Lord Ram killed King Ravan, who had abducted his wife Sita.

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