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Festival of the Month: Diwali

Diwali (also known as 'divali' - derived from the Sankrit word 'deepavali' meaning 'row of lights'), is Hinduism's most popular festival.  It is the biggest festival in India and is also recognised as an official national holiday in many other countries.  It is celebrated over five days in accordance with the Hindu lunar calendar and the arrival of the new moon between October and November every year. It also marks the end of the Hindu calendar year and brings a fresh start to the new one ahead. This year, Diwali will be celebrated between the 22nd-26th of October. Its beginnings hark back to many different events, from the iconic ancient mythological story of Prince Rama rescuing his wife Sita from the evil king Ravana, to commemorating the release of Sikhism's holy Guru Hargobind after being wrongfully imprisoned in 1619. Thus, it represents light over darkness, truth over ignorance, hope over despair and the freedom and triumph of good over evil. The festival is filled with feasting, dancing, singing, prayer and blessings to all, with evenings lit with diva lamps and the night sky brightened up with fireworks and lanterns. The children at Whitehall have all been learning about Diwali and we would like to wish you all a very joyous and prosperous Diwali if you are celebrating. Happy Diwali!