Hindu God Ganesh and the Scottish Regiment Band at Edinburgh Diwali (Photo: Frances Sutton)
Hindu God Ganesh and the Scottish Regiment Band at Edinburgh Diwali (Photo: Frances Sutton)

Edinburgh announces its biggest Diwali yet

Organisers of Edinburgh Diwali have announced the most culturally diverse programme of performers and events in its five-year history.

The South Asian festival of Diwali, which is celebrated by different cultures and religions all over the world, comes to Edinburgh with a multi-cultural feast of light, music, dance and food.

On Wednesday 23 October a new Happy Diwali sign will light up the city from Castle Rock and a spectacular Lightopia Chinese lantern display and performances will animate Castle Street until Saturday 26 October when the vibrant and colourful Diwali Parade, led by the Lord Provost, marches through the streets of the city on ending with a celebration of theatre, music and dance in Princes Street Gardens.

All events are free and open to all.

The Edinburgh Diwali Parade, a lively and colourful procession of dancers, Hindu Gods, pipe bands and this year for the first time Chinese Dragons and Chinese Lions, will depart from City Chambers on the High Street on Saturday 26 October at 2.30pm led by the Lord Provost.

Dancers from the Edinburgh Bhangra Crew, Bhartiya Ashram and Edinburgh Dandiya will be joined by Cuban Salsa Dancers and pipe bands from The Scottish Regiment, Glencorse and Stockbridge as well as representatives from the Riding of the Marches.

Hindu God Ganesh and the Scottish Regiment Band at Edinburgh Diwali (Photo: Frances Sutton)

Three floats of the Hindu Gods Ganesha, Hanuman and Shiva will be followed by the horse-drawn chariot of Lord Rama proceeding to his coronation. The Parade culminates with music and performances on Castle Street, before the celebrations move to the Ross Bandstand in Princes Street Gardens for more theatre, music and dance. The event culminates with a firework display at 7.30pm.

The Festival of Diwali is celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists around the world, each religion marking different historical events and legends, however all represent the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil and hope over despair.

Edinburgh Diwali has been organised for the last five years by a dedicated team of volunteers, headed by Mohindra Dhall, MBE.

Mohindra said: ‘Diwali is the celebration of light over darkness, good over evil, and so many cultures around the world mark this as we go into the dark nights of winter. With such a wide programme of performances and entertainment from many cultures, this year Edinburgh Diwali is making a huge effort to bring communities together. This is truly an event for everyone – so come and celebrate with us.’

In a new development for 2019 Edinburgh Diwali has partnered with Lightopia to create a magnificent display of Chinese lanterns in Castle Street from Wednesday 23 October. Featuring a large Diwali God, Angel Wings and a dynamic dance floor, Castle Street comes to life each evening from Wednesday 23 to Friday 25 October from 5-7pm with music and performances including Philippine Folk Dancing, African Drumming, Belly Dancing and Cuban Salsa Dancing – all free to enjoy. Food stalls are open daily from noon to 10.00pm.

Lord Provost Frank Ross, patron of Edinburgh Diwali, said “Yet again, Diwali will light up the city with a dazzling parade and festival of lights, dance and music. It’s one of the most spectacular events on Edinburgh’s calendar and is truly inclusive, providing free family fun and celebrating the city’s many multi-cultural communities. Don’t miss our most diverse programme yet!”

With the support of funding from the National Lottery People’s Project, Edinburgh Diwali has been working with primary school children across Edinburgh producing Diwali workshops and activities. The Festival is engaging with over 800 pupils in 27 schools giving children the opportunity to understand, share and enjoy another culture.

Edinburgh Diwali would not be possible without the support of The City of Edinburgh Council, The National Lottery People’s Project, Virgin Money, Standard Life Aberdeen, The University of Edinburgh.

The Edinburgh Diwali and Lightopia Lantern display switches on in Castle Street on Wednesday 23 October at 5.00pm. Performances run from 5- 7.00pm each evening on Wednesday 23, Thursday 24 and Friday 25 October. There will be cultural performances outside the City Chambers on the Royal Mile on Saturday 26 October at 1.30pm followed by The Edinburgh Diwali parade which departs City Chambers at 2.30pm. The programme of events on the Ross Bandstand starts at 4.00pm and the Firework Finale is at 7.30pm.

All events are free of charge and everyone is welcome.

For full details of the Edinburgh Diwali celebrations go to http://www.edinburghdiwali.co.uk