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Diwali In Trafalgar Square | Guide & Where

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways

  • Diwali is a major festival, celebrated by over 800,000 people in the UK.
  • The history of Diwali in Trafalgar Square dates back to 2001.
  • The Trafalgar Square Diwali celebrations are free and non-ticketed.
  • 2023’s Diwali date is Sunday, 12th November.
  • Luxury stays, delicious foods, and vibrant celebrations await attendees.

What’s Diwali?

Often referred to as the ‘Festival of Lights’, Diwali stands as an emblem of the victory of light over darkness and good over evil. With its roots in Hinduism, this illustrious festival is also observed by Sikhs and Jains. Its timing, during the lunar months of Ashvina and Karttika, varies each year.

The significance of this festival is manifold. For some, it’s a celebration of Lord Rama’s triumphant return to Ayodhya after his long exile. For others, the focus might shift towards worshipping the Goddess Lakshmi, a deity representing wealth and prosperity, whilst others pray to other deities besides.

Beyond these religious undertones, Diwali remains a time for families to come together, exchange gifts, indulge in feasting, and reminisce about traditional tales that form the fabric of this celebration.

In the UK, Diwali resonates with the sentiments of over 800,000 people, reflecting the country’s rich tapestry of diverse cultures and traditions.

Why is Diwali Celebrated in Trafalgar Square?

Nestled in the heart of Central London, Trafalgar Square isn’t just any location; it’s a landmark, a confluence of histories, and an ideal gathering spot. As London celebrates its multiculturalism, the amalgamation of this historic location with the vibrant Diwali festival feels both organic and celebratory.

The event, being free to attend, attracts thousands, eager to witness live Garba performances, delve into zones dedicated to sarees, children, and unity (that sheds light on why Diwali is significant for various communities).

How Long Has Diwali Been Celebrated in Trafalgar Square for?

The rich history of Diwali in Trafalgar Square began in 2001, a modest celebration back then, with attendees holding candles and offering prayers. This simple gathering has since burgeoned into an event awaited by many every year.

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When is Diwali?

Mark your calendars! This year, the luminance of Diwali will brighten our lives on Sunday, 12th November.

How’s the Celebration?

From the inviting glow of clay lamps adorning homes to the spectacular fireworks painting the night sky, Diwali is nothing short of magical. The festival also brings forth the tradition of creating rangoli, captivating designs made from rice flour or coloured powders, that grace doorsteps and courtyards. And let’s not forget, it’s also a time of generosity, with families and friends exchanging heartwarming gifts.

Fashion During Diwali

A notable aspect of Diwali is the vibrant attire donned by celebrants. From shimmering sarees, intricate lehengas to ornate kurta sets, Diwali is as much a fashion extravaganza as it is a cultural one. Accessories like bangles, earrings, and necklaces, often heirlooms passed down generations, add to the charm.

Is There Food?

Absolutely! Food isn’t just an element; it’s the soul of Diwali celebrations. The festive table boasts a range of mouthwatering dishes like samosas, gulab jamun, bhajis, and laddu. The festival is particularly known for its array of sweets, ensuring that the celebrations are as much a treat for the taste buds as they are for the soul.

Modern Traditions of Diwali

As times have changed, so have some Diwali traditions, especially in metropolitan areas like London. Today’s Diwali sees a blend of time-honoured customs with modern practices. Virtual Diwali parties, eco-friendly decor, and digital gifts are now part of the celebration. This amalgamation is a testament to Diwali’s adaptability and ever-evolving nature.

Engaging Children in Diwali Celebrations

Diwali is an excellent opportunity for children to connect with their roots and understand their cultural heritage. Schools in London often engage in Diwali-themed activities, and parents can further this education at home. Crafting DIY lanterns, narrating stories of Lord Rama, and cooking traditional sweets together are fantastic ways to involve the younger generation.

How Much Do People Spend at Diwali?

The grandeur of Diwali often translates to elaborate preparations and expenses. Though it’s challenging to pinpoint an exact figure, the expenditure can encompass grand feasts, gifts, travel, and sometimes even new clothes or home renovations.

DIY Tips for Diwali Decor

To truly immerse in the Diwali spirit, consider crafting your own decorations. Homemade candles, paper lanterns, and organic rangoli can add a personal touch. Engaging in DIY activities can also be a fun, family-bonding exercise.

Where to Stay for Diwali in London

Experiencing Diwali in London is an unforgettable event, and choosing the right place to stay will undoubtedly enhance your festival experience. London boasts a wide range of accommodations catering to all preferences and budgets.

Types of Accommodations in London

  • Luxury Hotels: London is home to some of the world’s most iconic luxury hotels, offering opulent rooms, world-class dining, and impeccable service.
  • Serviced Apartments: For those seeking the comforts of home combined with hotel-like amenities, serviced apartments are an excellent choice. These typically come with fully equipped kitchens, lounges, and often, laundry services.
  • Boutique Bed and Breakfasts: Offering a more intimate experience, these establishments often provide personalised services and a unique charm.
  • Hostels: Perfect for budget travellers and backpackers, London’s hostels are a great way to meet fellow travellers and enjoy central locations at a fraction of the cost.

Our Serviced Apartments

For those leaning towards serviced apartments, why not consider our luxury offering? Spread across prime London locations, we offer apartments of varying sizes, from cosy studios to spacious three-bedroom apartments. Our complimentary maid and laundry services, 24-hour concierge, and modern amenities ensure a comfortable and memorable stay.

Booking Tips for Diwali

  • Book Early: Diwali is a significant event in London’s cultural calendar, so accommodations fill up fast. Booking well in advance ensures you get the best deals and choices.
  • Location is Key: Staying centrally, especially near Trafalgar Square or other Diwali event venues, will save you transit time and costs.
  • Check for Special Offers: Some accommodations offer Diwali-specific packages, which may include complimentary meals, transport to event venues, or even guided tours.

Navigating London During Diwali

If you’re in London for the Diwali festivities, plan your travel in advance. With several events happening across the city, public transport might be crowded. Consider booking cabs in advance or exploring walking routes to soak in the festive ambience. Or, alternatively, you could book your own luxury car hire to really make the period feel exclusive.

The Rhythms of Diwali

Music and dance form the heartbeat of Diwali celebrations. Trafalgar Square and other London venues often echo with the vibrant beats of dhol drums and the delicate chimes of ghungroos (dancing bells). Traditional dances like Garba, Bhangra, and Kathak are performed, allowing attendees to revel in the euphoria of the festival.

Meditation and Spiritual Reflection

Beyond the festivity and flamboyance, Diwali is also a time for introspection and spiritual rejuvenation. Many utilise this period to meditate, attend spiritual seminars, or engage in community service. This aspect underscores Diwali’s holistic approach to well-being, focusing on both external joy and internal peace.

Other Notable Diwali Gatherings in London

While Trafalgar Square is a significant hotspot, celebrations like the ‘Finding Diwali’ event at the National Maritime Museum and Diwali festivities at Marble Hill are not to be missed.

The Economic Boost from Diwali

Like any major festival, Diwali contributes significantly to London’s economy. From shopping sprees, dining out, to increased tourism, the financial ripples of Diwali are felt across various sectors. Local businesses often roll out Diwali-special offers, and the surge in sales is a testament to the festival’s economic impact.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the Biggest Diwali Celebration in the UK?

Leicester holds this honour. Renowned for hosting the most extensive Diwali celebrations outside India, Leicester’s holiday observance is truly unparalleled.

How can I Participate in the Diwali Celebrations in Trafalgar Square?

The Diwali celebrations at Trafalgar Square are open to all, and no tickets are required. Just turn up, and you can enjoy the festivities, which include live performances, food stalls, and various cultural exhibitions.

Are There Specific Dress Codes for Attending Diwali in Trafalgar Square?

While there’s no strict dress code, many attendees choose to wear traditional attire to embrace the spirit of the festival. However, comfortable clothing and shoes are recommended due to the duration of the event.

Is it Safe to Bring Children to the Celebrations?

Absolutely! The Diwali celebrations in Trafalgar Square are family-friendly. There are often designated children’s zones with activities tailored for younger attendees.

Can I volunteer for the Diwali event in Trafalgar Square?

Yes, the organisers often look for volunteers to help manage the event. You can check the official website or contact the organising committee for details on volunteer opportunities.

Final Thoughts

As the days approach, London will once again shimmer in the splendour of Diwali. Whether you’re drawn to the cultural significance, the festive food, or the camaraderie, there’s no denying that Diwali in Trafalgar Square, and indeed in London, is an experience to cherish. Dive into the celebrations, and let the essence of Diwali illuminate your year ahead. View our sumptuous range of serviced apartments, today!

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