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Diwali Celebrations in London at Dishoom

Diwali, the festival of lights is a special time of year for all Hindus, Jains and Sikhs around the world. It celebrates new beginnings and the victory of good over evil, light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance.

Diwali celebrations in London

Diwali Celebrations in London at Dishoom

When my siblings and I were younger we used to call it our ‘Indian’ Christmas. Not dissimilar really from a child’s perspective as it revolves around delicious feasts, gifts, eating your own body weight in sweets and wearing your new and flashy threads. The fond memories of helping my mum ‘autumn’ clean the house and the aromas of special Diwali food being whipped up in kitchen always puts a smile on face.

Diwali Celebrations in London at Dishoom

The festival coincides with the Hindu New Year too and is one of the most significant in the Indian culture. This year we joined the Restaurant group Dishoom, famous for bringing the Mumbai Irani café culture to London, at their annual Dishoom Diwali Party in the Camden Centre.

Diwali Celebrations in London at Dishoom

Guests were welcomed with a namaste and traditional red chandlo to the forehead. The homely smell of masala chai was too good to refuse, so too were the generous tubs of sweet mithai.

The girls dashed straight for the Indian fizzy pop stall. Thums Up or Limca anyone? And let’s not forget the delectable Dishoom snacks – Samosas, bhel puri, pau bhaji and farfar were all free-flowing.

The children’s entertainment on offer was great. Whilst they busied themselves with the colouring in giant deity posters,  making beautiful diva plates,  having a spot of face painting and henna artistry, the parents were able to kick back and relax with another cup of piping hot masala chai!

The annual event is for people from all backgrounds and faiths to join in the celebration of Diwali. The tales that go with the festival vary from region to region in India. Everyone celebrates Rama’s return from 14 years of exile to Ayodhya after the defeat of demon king Ravana and his subsequent coronation as king. However, in Gujarat for example the festival also honours Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. Nepal remembers the victory of Lord Krishna over the demon king Narakaasura and in Bengal its associated with the goddess Kali.

Diwali Celebrations in London at Dishoom

We were treated to a fabulous re-telling of the story of Diwali by the Sujata Banerjee Dance Company and a performance by a soulful musical flute rendition by Shammi Pithia.

Diwali Celebrations in London at Dishoom

Inspired by the fabulous dancers, everyone had the opportunity at the end to get their own jig on by joining in with a mass dandiya (traditional stick dance) workshop.

Diwali Celebrations in London at Dishoom

Dishoom run a similar event for Eid too and in 2015  during the period of Ramadan they supported two charities: The Akshaya Patra Foundation in India and Magic Breakfast in the UK by donating two school meals for every meal served in their restaurants. They have now made the ‘meal for a meal’ permanent and two years later have donated an impressive 3 million meals.

Diwali Celebrations in London at Dishoom

Trust me, don’t miss out on this amazing event next year. It’s a real feel good factor and a fabulous way of bringing together communities in a world now where division is prevalent. This year they’ll also be hosting a Christmas Carol event. Who’s coming with me to exercise those lungs and spread some Christmas cheer?

Have you ever been to a Dishoom festival gathering? Let me know in the comments section below.

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Wishing all celebrating a Happy Diwali and a prosperous New Year!

17 Comments

  • Angie 19th October 2017 at 7:58 am

    Oh what a fun night!!

    • Sima Sthanakiya 21st October 2017 at 8:45 pm

      Such a lovely way to celebrate with the family.

  • Jasmin N 19th October 2017 at 8:28 am

    Wow what a beautiful event! Sounds like you had a really good time out there 🙂 everything looks just gorgeous.

    • Sima Sthanakiya 21st October 2017 at 8:47 pm

      A really lovely afternoon. Thanks Jasmin x

  • Kanishka Acharya 19th October 2017 at 10:11 am

    Happiest Diwali to you Lots of love to you from India <3 This looks like an amazing celebration event. Happy you enjoyed it.

    • Sima Sthanakiya 21st October 2017 at 8:48 pm

      Happy Diwali and a Happy New Year to you too Kanishka x

  • Seetal (@SavlaFaire) 19th October 2017 at 3:08 pm

    Brings back a lot of good memories. My mum and gran used to make so many treats when we were kids, but now we’ve all grown up and moved away (and everyone is more health-conscious!), there are just a few dishes now. Still, great times.

    • Sima Sthanakiya 21st October 2017 at 8:49 pm

      Yeah same here. Diwali is just the not same as it used to be for me. It’s why events like this are really important to to keep traditions alive for my kids.

  • Aaron (@1dish4theroad) 19th October 2017 at 4:59 pm

    Looks such a fun event! Happy Diwali to you and your team, Sima! x

    • Sima Sthanakiya 21st October 2017 at 8:49 pm

      Thanks Aaron!

  • Helene 19th October 2017 at 8:25 pm

    This a beautiful tradition! And what a great celebration! Happy Diwali dear!
    Helene // Beautiful Is My Attire

    • Sima Sthanakiya 21st October 2017 at 8:50 pm

      Thank you Helene x

  • Shikha (whywasteannualleave) 19th October 2017 at 10:02 pm

    What a wonderful way to unite & educate people & sounds like it’s really fun party for all ages!

    • Sima Sthanakiya 21st October 2017 at 8:51 pm

      Yeah we had a great time. Thanks Shika!

  • Elizabeth allcock 20th October 2017 at 5:37 am

    Sounds like you had an amazing time! Looks really fun.

  • Zoe 22nd October 2017 at 3:47 pm

    I loved your insta stories on this (promise not stalking you) and it looked such good fun.

    • Sima Sthanakiya 23rd October 2017 at 8:20 am

      Lol! So much fun Zoe. You should try and go next year.

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