Dancers from Devi Narthanaalaya School of Dance perform at the Diwali celebration
Spellbinding dancers, incredible drummers and tantalising food provided the spark as Middlesex University was lit up in honour of Diwali.
The Quad was filled with the sights, sounds and flavours of the Hindu festival of lights as 200 guests gathered for the borough’s official celebration yesterday evening.
Professor Sean Wellington, Interim Vice-Chancellor of Middlesex University, opened the proceedings and led the lighting of a ceremonial Diwa lamp while young people from the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha temple sang verses for prayers of peace.
"We’re extremely proud of the work we do with local faith groups." Professor Sean Wellington, Interim Vice-Chancellor
Professor Wellington said: “Our role in the local community is incredibly important to us, and we support wherever we can.
“We’re extremely proud of the work we do with local faith groups and Barnet Multi Faith Forum to share learning and to promote community cohesion and inclusion.”
Guests were treated to the spectacular sound of dhol drumming as they arrived at the Quad, which had been dressed for the event.
A total of six dance acts performed at the commemoration and guests, including the High Commissioner of Bangladesh Her Excellency Saida Muna Tasneem and Mayor of Barnet Councillor Nagus Narenthira, enjoyed a delicious Diwali dinner.
A dohl drummer performs at the Diwali celebration
The Edgware Dance Group led by Varsha Patel
Guests enjoy the buffet Diwali dinner
Paras Meisheri, of the Jain Network, Esmond Rosen, President of the Barnet Multi Faith Forum, Professor Sean Wellington, Vice-Chancellor of Middlesex University, High Commissioner of Bangladesh Her Excellency Saida Muna Tasneem, Mayor of Barnet Councillor Nagus Narenthira and Vishnu Gurung, from the Nepalese Community
Jay Suryavanshi, Equity & Inclusions Officer for MDX Students’ Union, helped Professor Wellington, the High Commissioner and the Mayor light the Diwa lamp and gave a speech.
Speakers reflected on the importance of inter-faith understanding and collaboration.
The event was a collaboration between the university, London Borough of Barnet, Barnet Asian Women’s Association, Barnet Multi Faith Forum, Middlesex University Students’ Union and Inter Faith Network.
It comes after MDX held an interfaith celebration of Ramadan with the Big Iftar.
Councillor Zahra Beg, Barnet Council’s Cabinet Member for Equalities, Voluntary & Community Sector, said: “Diwali, or the festival of lights, signifies peace and joy, the victory of good over evil, and light over darkness every day.
“We’re so lucky in Barnet to have such wonderfully diverse and multicultural communities that make celebrating occasions like Diwali so special and integral to our culture.”
Nepalese solo dancer Aashirya Sitalu
Solo dancer Prapti Debsarkar