The festival of Dashehra and Diwali has religious significance for Hindus, Sikhs and Jains, and is celebrated by many communities in India and throughout the world. Diwali symbolises the triumph of good over evil and marks the start of the Hindu New Year.
The climax of the Diwali Mela will be a spectacular fire display featuring the burning of a 30' high effigy of the ten-headed demon king Ravan, built by renowned arts company Walk the Plank. In the tradition of Dashehra, the Ravan effigy will be set alight at sunset followed by a stunning firework finale.
Festival of Light
|Ten heads: Ravan|
Speaking to BBC Radio Manchester, organiser Raj Dutta of the Indian Association explained the significance of the event:
"Dashehra is linked to Diwali. On this day, Lord Ram, the hero of great Hindu epic Ramayana killed the ten-headed demon king Ravan who had abducted his wife Sita. Lord Ram, his brother Lakshman along with an army of monkeys fought a colossal battle which lasted ten days. After killing Ravan, after 14 years of exile, Lord Ram and his wife Sita returned to their kingdom where his people welcomed him by illuminating the streets."
|"It’s an inclusive event. It’s not just for Hindus or for followers of Sikh or Jain religions. It’s for everybody."|
|Raj Dutta, Indian Organisation|
"So this part is Diwai, the festival of lights. The literal meaning is a row of light and signifies the end of darkness which stands for ignorance and the beginning of knowledge. Lamps are lit as a sign of celebration and hope for mankind. So Diwali celebration focuses on lights, lamps and fireworks."
Raj added that people from all the different communities in Manchester are welcome. "I would say to them this is for everybody. It’s a cultural event, it’s an inclusive event. It’s not just for Hindus or for followers of Sikh or Jain religions. It’s for everybody."
- procession of lanterns, garlands, paper chains and instruments;
- live Bollywood-style entertainment from: Indian dance group IndepenDance; Indian wedding brass band Bombay Baja and Bhangra music and dance from Gabrhu Panjab De
- 30+ stalls offering Asian foods and speciality gifts
- a children's fun fair, arts and crafts workshops
The event is free and starts at 3pm and goes on until 9pm. On site car parking is available (£3) at the Platt Lane entrance, and a regular bus service along Wilmslow road stops adjacent to Platt Fields Park.