Diwali on the Square
This event has already taken place.

Diwali 2015

12:00pm to 6:00pm
Trafalgar Square, Westminster, London, WC2N 5DN, United Kingdom

The Diwali Festival, which celebrates the Hindu, Sikh and Jain festival of lights, is organised by the Mayor of London in cooperation with the Diwali in London Committee.

Diwali celebrates the victory of good over evil, light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance, although the actual legends that accompany it differ across India.

Diwali 2015 will focus on the legacies of valour, unity and sacrifice in pursuit of peace and freedom. Working alongside the National Army Museum, it will commemorate the role the Indian sub-continent played in World War I, and pay tribute to the many brave soldiers of the British Empire and Commonwealth who served to protect that freedom, a number of whom lived to tell the tale.

The Children’s Parade will continue these themes, re-enacting the return of victorious Lord Ram to his Kingdom.

Expect a packed line up of the best in contemporary Asian music and dance performed by professional Zee TV artists and talented community groups, with traditional religious music and rites to open and close the show. 

The event will offer the chance to taste your way around the best of SE Asian vegetarian cuisine, sample the delights of festival sweets and drinks, enjoy plentiful children’s activities, buy colourful trinkets, don a sari and pose for interactive photo ops and more!

Check out the video from Diwali 2014

The Mayor puts on and supports lots of different events to celebrate the many cultures and communities of London. To find out what’s coming up sign up to the Events newsletter.

Auditions

On Saturday 8 August, the Mayor of London and the Diwali in London Committee (DiL for short) held auditions for the chance to perform on the main stage at Diwali 2015. Many community groups, dance schools, bands and individuals demonstrated their talent in a way that they felt best showcased the rich culture and heritage behind the festival.

All prospective performers went through the same selection process for their act, scored by a Judging Panel consisting of representatives from the Greater London Authority and DiL.

The day was certainly filled with vibrant and diverse modern and traditional numbers and we expect to notify everyone who came whether they were successful or not by the end of August. No more applicants are being considered at this point.

Many thanks to Brahma Kumaris, Global Co-operation House, 65-69 Pound Lane, London who hosted this special day - a spiritual centre well worth a visit!

Stall opportunity

The call out for caterers and retail stallholders is now closed. Stall opportunities for Diwali 2015 were open from July - September 2015. 

Children's parade

This parade is a rehearsed walk-dance activity from the Southbank to Trafalgar Square, designed for young person participation accompanied by their responsible adults.

The Children's Parade reflects the theme of the festival - the legacies of valour, unity and sacrifice, re-enacting the return of victorious Lord Ram to his Kingdom.

Applications to join the parade are no longer being accepted. 

The children will perform their final victory dance on Trafalgar Square at 12:30.

If you want to get a glimpse of how great this looks watch our short video from last year. 

Accessibility

Accessible facilities at Trafalgar Square

  • There is a wheelchair accessible lift.  It is on the north-west of Trafalgar Square. Event stewards will be available to help wheelchair users travelling between upper (north terrace) and lower terrace levels of Trafalgar Square
  • Wheelchair accessible public toilets are available on the lower terrace of Trafalgar Square. This is on the west side of the square to the left of the central staircase. These are open daily from 8am to 8pm. You’ll also find a temporary wheelchair accessible portable toilet near the accessible viewing area for Africa on the Square
  • Trafalgar Square’s cafe is wheelchair accessible, and has a low-level counter and induction loop

Additional accessible facilities for Diwali on the Square 

  • There will be a BSL interpreter on the music stage 
  • All staff and stewards will also be briefed on disability awareness
  • The wheelchair accessible viewing area will be at the top of the central staircase
  • Some seating will be available for companions in the wheelchair viewing area, and for less abled people who are not necessarily wheelchair users
  • Guidance dog welfare area will be available next to the lift on the north-west terrace

 

Accessible transport

You can plan your journey with TfL’s Journey Planner.
 

National Rail 

The nearest railway station is Charing Cross. It is 325 metres away, approximately three minutes’ walk.  Charing Cross rail station offers step-free access and a step-free route to Trafalgar Square.
 

Tube

The nearest Underground station with step-free access from platform to street level is Westminster. This is served by the Jubilee, District and Circle lines. Outside Westminster station buses 12, 24, 88 or 453 have low-floor buses which call at a stop within 150m of Trafalgar Square.
 
Charing Cross Underground station is served by the Northern and Bakerloo lines. It is the closest Tube station. However it does not have step-free access.
 
Visit the TfL website for accessible Tube maps.
 

Bus

Routes 3, 6, 9, 11, 12, 13, 15, 23, 24, 53, 77A, 88, 91, 139, 159, 176 and 453.
 
All these routes lead to Trafalgar Square. However, 9 and 15 are heritage buses and do not have a low-floor.
 
Visit the TfL website for more information on buses.
 

Dial-a-ride

Find out about registering and pre-booking Dial-a-ride services.
 

Accessible parking

Please note that due to the Half Marathon taking place, there will be road closures in place from 7am up until after 12 noon throughout central London.  For more information please visit TfL Weekend Travel page

The nearest Blue Badge parking spaces to Trafalgar Square are:
 
  • St Martin’s Street – five spaces - 321 metres from Trafalgar Square
  • Outside Canada House – one space - 33 metres from Trafalgar Square 
  • Suffolk Street – one space - 644 metres from Trafalgar Square 
  • Spring Gardens – one space - 321 metres from Trafalgar Square 
 
To find other blue badge parking bays nearby, use the postcode WC2N 5DN and search the City of Westminster’s website. To see where the bays are, click the ‘View results on a map’ button on the search results page.
 

Café

The café on the square is open from 10am-6pm daily. There is seating inside, plus outside seats and wooden tables. The café is on the lower terrace of Trafalgar Square, on the square’s east side, right of the central staircase.
 

Toilets

Trafalgar Square also has a number of public toilet facilities:

Men

  • Eight urinals
  • Three cubicles
  • One disabled toilet
  • One baby changing facility

Women

  • Nine cubicles 
  • One disabled toilet
  • One baby changing facility

Stage programme

Diwali Festival Main Stage Programme

12:30 Children’s Parade Dance Performance  (performed on the steps of the main square)

12:40 Garba demonstration with Raas Rebellion (an exciting team of creative people promoting Gujarati culture and folk arts)

12:50 Public Garba with live band Priyesh & Friends 

 (Join in with this lively and colourful group dance originating from Gujarat in India) 

13:30 Diwali messages 

13:50 Official Opening Ceremony 

14:25 – 15:35- DiL Community Performances Part 1 

  • Mums of Sai School 
  • Mira Salat 
  • Jiya Kishan
  • Garba 365 
  • Dance N Beats
  • Virsa
  • East West Fusion 

15:30 – 15:35  Meet ZEE TV’s Gangaa

The young actress, Ruhana Khanna, lead in the popular series Gangaa on Zee’s new Asian entertainment channel &TV will chat with London about what it’s like playing a child widow determined to overcome the age-old challenges of society) 

15:35 – 16:00  Kerala Tourism Performances Part 1

  • Panchari Melam 
  • Thiruvathirakkali 
  • Mohiniyattom & Bharathanatyam fusion by Vinod Nair 

16:00 – 17:35 DiL Community Performances Part 2

  • Shiamak (a London dance company committed to performance, sector development and education, and proponents of contemporary Bollywood Jazz style in the UK)  
  • K’s Dance Entertainment by Kalpesh (showcasing styles like Bollywood, Bhangra, folk and more)  
  • Binal’s Dance Academy (which teaches Indian classical and folk dance, Bollywood, fusion, bollyrobics, and Bhangra)
  • Sarjan Nartan Academy (specialising in Indian classical and folk dance, Bollywood and semi classical ballet based on Indian mythology)
  • J-Unit
  • Swati Natekar (performer of classical, ghazals, folk and devotional music and daughter of Hindustani Indian Classical & Folk Music Scholar, Dr Sushila Pohankar) 
  • Tridhara
  • Absolute Bollywood (Indian dance innovator, Jennie Jethwani, makes Bollywood and Indian dance more UK-accessible for both dancers and audiences) 
  • Karan Pangali & Spark Dancers (home-grown global dancing sensation and artistic director of KSPARK Entertainment, Karan Pangali delivers internationally acclaimed performances and choreography) 

17:35 – 18:20  Zee TV presents: 

ZEE Family Bonanza with Veena & Neera (the philosophy of the world’s largest South Asian TV Network ZEE is ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ – ‘The World is My Family’.  This segment will showcase the full diversity of Indian culture and its global appeal, with popular Bollywood hits through to Indian classical and regional ballads performed by Veena, whilst Spanish-born Neera delights us with her Bollywood and Indian classical dance style)

18:20 – 18:40 Kerala Tourism Part 2

  • Kalaripayattu (one of the oldest martial arts in the world, equipping the mind and body with an elaborate repertoire of movement and exercise) 
  • Kerala Nadanam (Keralan classical dance fusion by Chitra) 

18:45 – 19:00 Closing Ceremony

  • Aarti (Hindu and Sikh ritual of worship) with Kirtan Bhagans (Hindu devotional songs) 
  • Special Finale

19:00 Goodbye!

Kerala Tourism

Diwali festival 2015 is proud to be working with Kerala Tourism as supporting partner.
 
Kerala Tourism will be showcasing the delights of the Indian State of Kerala in their region-themed marquee, complete with scenic backdrops, a mock-up temple, atmospheric artefacts and colourfully costumed artists. They will also be entertaining the crowds with the best of Keralan music, dance and martial arts on the main stage throughout the day. You can even try Kerala’s exotic cuisine at the Ragam catering stand.
Kerala at a Glance
With the Arabian Sea in the west, Western Ghats towering 500-2700m in the east, and 44 intertwining rivers, Kerala’s unique geographical features and equable climate have made it one of the most sought after tourist destinations in Asia.
 
Within a few hours’ drive of each other, you can experience long shorelines with serene beaches, tranquil stretches of emerald backwaters, lush hill stations and exotic wildlife.
 
To see some of Kerala’s waterfalls, sprawling plantations and paddy fields, or learn about the ayurvedic health holidays, enchanting art forms, magical festivals, historic and cultural monuments this Indian State has to offer click here
 
If you would like more information on Kerala please see the Kerala Tourism website.
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