Sunderland is set to shine a light on different cultures as the city celebrates Diwali, the Asian Festival of Light.
Rough Diamond Entertainment and Funky Indian Events have announced that they will host a vibrant Bollywood Diwali Mela Festival on Sunday, November 20, giving people of all faiths and backgrounds the chance to enjoy the colourful celebration.
The event, which will be held in the Winter Gardens, will feature a packed lineup of entertainment aimed at the whole family. The Winter Gardens will come alive, with traditional Indian dancing, a large feature Rangoli display, henna stations, and colourful workshops for the little ones to create their own traditional patterns.
The terrace behind the Winter Gardens will also host a Diwali light display, overlooking Mowbray Park, which itself will be lit up ahead of the festive season.
Kam Chera, who owns Funky Indian Events and who has led the planning for the city’s Diwali celebrations, said: “Diwali is a stunning occasion and one that can be enjoyed by people of all backgrounds.
“Think bright colours, the smell of beautiful Indian food, traditional Bollywood dancing and all of vibrancy that comes with a Mela. All of that and more is what can be expected at our event. We have been delighted to see more and more stakeholders across the city sign up to lend their support too – it’s really going to be something special.”
Diwali is a traditional Indian festival, and is touted as a festival of light. Colours also play a big role in the occasion, which often sees houses being freshly painted and adorned with a multitude of decorations, to herald the coming of the goddess Lakshmi.
Harry Collinson, founder of Rough Diamond Entertainment, said: “Diwali is a huge event in the Indian calendar. People buy new clothes and gifts for their family and friends, and it really is a celebration of friendship and fun that is like no other.
“Families of Indian descent across our city will be celebrating this fantastic occasion in the comfort of their home, but we want to shine a light on Diwali and create something that families of all cultures can experience and enjoy.
“The response so far has been fantastic, and we hope to see score of Wearsiders come along to enjoy an afternoon of friendship, fun and festivities.”
The event is being supported by associate partners Young Asian Voices and Sangini, and Sunderland Software Centre business RGB Media, who have supported with branding and marketing materials. Sponsors include Tyne and Wear Fire Services, Sunderland BID and the East Sunderland Area Committee. Support partners GEMarts, Sunderland 2021, Sunderland Vibe, the University of Sunderland Students’ Union, Sunderland City Council and Spice FM are all also lending their support.
Gary Hutchinson, chair of Sunderland Business Partnership, a collective that is supporting the city’s Diwali event, said: “Sunderland has so much vibrancy, and events like this make a huge contribution to that.
“Sunderland is a modern multicultural city, and one that embraces all of the colours of the world, so events like this add real richness to our calendar and the chance to learn more about the customs and traditions of other places and people from around the world.”
The full line up features Indian street food, Dandiya folk dancing lessons, music, Bollywood Bhangra dancers, a fashion show, arts and crafts, cookery classes, stalls and much more. It takes place on Sunday, November 20, from 1-5pm at Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens.
To find out more, search for Bollywood Diwali Mela Festival on Facebook. Admission is free. Tickets are not required and people can simply turn up in the day.