Diwali celebrations to light up Northampton town centre

Published: Thursday, 26 September 2019

Family entertainment, delicious food and the annual lantern procession are set to light up Northampton town centre on Saturday 19 October.

The annual Festival of Lights celebrations are organised by the Indian Hindu Welfare Organisation with support from Northampton Borough Council and will open with food and information stalls on the Market Square from 10am.

Family-friendly activities such as henna painting, Karom board game and sari dressing follow, with performances, music and stage entertainment beginning at 1pm.

The much-anticipated lantern procession will begin at 6pm on the Market Square, with two pedal-powered puppets of Harminder the elephant and Shanti the giant bird leading the way. These old favourites will be joined by puppets of Hanumanji, Rama, Sita, Ravana and Ganesh, as well as pupils from seven local schools, as they make their way up Abington Street, along St Giles’ Terrace and down St Giles Street. The procession will then take a loop of All Saints Church before returning to the Market Square.

During the procession, a light will be offered to the Leader of the Northampton Borough Council Councillor Jonathan Nunn and Mayor of Northampton, Councillor Nazim Choudary at the steps of The Guildhall and another light at the All Saints Church, received by Father Oliver Coss.

At 7pm, Prince Ram will be crowned after 14 years of exile and later, dignitaries will take to the market stage for speeches and to countdown to switching on the Diwali Lights, before bhangra music and dancing close the event at 8pm.

Neelam Aggarwal-Singh, chairperson for the Indian Hindu Welfare Organisation, said: “We’re excited to be bringing the Diwali celebrations to Northampton Market for the 19th year running. Although now an old tradition in the town, each year we work with local schools and communities to bring something new to the event, growing it from strength to strength. Everyone is welcome to join us on the day as we celebrate the amazing Festival of Lights.

Councillor Anna King, Cabinet member for community engagement and safety, said: “The town’s Diwali celebrations are always a popular occasion, with families flocking into the town to enjoy the entertainment and see the lantern procession.

“As always, Festive Road have done an amazing job creating a fantastic procession of puppets, lanterns, drummers and school children. We hope people enjoy seeing the new and favourite characters in the processions as well as the fun surprises we have in store! Come and join us as we celebrate this fantastic festival.”