Divali Mela organised by the Lincolnshire Indian Society
Diwali is the Hindu 'Festival of Lights', held every autumn (in the Northern hemisphere) which symbolises victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance. A Mela is a Sanskrit word for a gathering. I was privileged to represent the Eleanor Glanville Centre at the Diwali Mela on 17th November.
The Eleanor Glanville Centre at the University of Lincoln was one of the sponsors for the evening, and near the beginning I was honoured to light one of the candles signifying the start of activities. This was a nervous moment for me. Will I do something wrong? Will I offend anyone? Everyone was so welcoming and happy that I could do nothing but enjoy myself.
The venue was a large space in the Epic Centre at the Lincolnshire Showground. This was a change from previous years, with a move to a bigger venue. It looked as though it was up to capacity, with many hundreds of people enjoying the food, decorations, music, dancing, entertainment and socialising. This was clearly an enourmous exercise, with dozens of smiling volunteers who spent so much time ensuring everything went so smoothly.
We started with amazing food, then a welcoming speech, followed by musicians and dancers, both traditional and classical music and some very modern hip-hop groups. There were many instruments played beautifully. A group of youngsters entertained us with as many jokes as they could make in 5 minutes at their parents' expense. After the entertainment we indulged in more food, my favourite was the chilli hot paneer. Then some pudding and the group moved into dancing. I bottled out of that!
Overall a fantastic evening – a moving demonstration of a multiethnic society we live in. Lincolnshire Indian Society is a credit to their culture and to their community. The Diwali Mela must help to further integrate their community with the wider community.
As a University, I feel proud that we can support events such as this. I am looking forward to next year, and I may put on my dancing shoes next time!
Professor Graham Law, Director (Social Science), Eleanor Glanville Centre