Lighting up interfaith relations with Diwali celebration
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People from different faiths and cultures came together to celebrate Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, at an event jointly hosted by Northamptonshire Police and the Wellingborough District Hindu Association.
The event, which was also supported by the Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS), took place on Saturday, November 18, at the Wellingborough Hindu Community Centre, and was well attended by members of the local community.
The evening, which marked both Diwali and Interfaith Week, included speeches from Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Northamptonshire Miranda Wixon, who used the metaphor of Diwali as a prism to symbolise the festival's victory over evil and the hope it brings.
She emphasised unity, diversity, and the power of collective celebration, referring to the Sanskrit phrase ‘Sangachadwam’ to highlight the importance of working together. The evening also included entertainment from Bollywood and classical dancers.
Vinod Patel, chair of the Wellingborough District Hindu Association which organised the event, said: “A community is a place where people live, meet, work and build bridges. Alone, we can do so little; together we can do so much. A community that is engaged and working together can be a powerful force. Community is about doing something together that makes belonging matter.”
Vinod also thanked the volunteers and everyone else who made the event a success.
Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold said: “Diwali is a time to look forward to the future and better times, so it was fantastic to be able to take part in this celebration of hope across all cultures.”
Sophia Perveen, Faith Liaison Officer for Northamptonshire Police, also helped to organise the event.
She said: “Working together with the community on this cultural celebration highlights our commitment to community engagement and cross-cultural inclusivity. It was beautiful to see people from different walks of life come together to celebrate a time known to symbolise joy, light and good and we hope events like this will help to continue strengthening interfaith relations.”
Ashley Tugby, Operational Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Station Commander at NFRS, said: “It was fantastic to see so many people come together in this time of celebration, all with the common goal of building lasting interfaith relations.
“We are very fortunate in Northamptonshire to have such diversity within our communities, and just like the fire service, in any effective team you need diversity. We have invested heavily within the fire service to continue to keep our communities safe. Finally, I would like to say a massive thank you to all who gave up their time to organise this fantastic event.