by Lauren Codling
In a first, the London Eye was lit up to celebrate Diwali last Sunday evening (15), with all funds raised donated to the Grenfell Tower Appeal.
Light Up London marked the first time the popular tourist attraction was illuminated to mark the festival of lights. The famous landmark lit up in colour schemes associated with traditional rangoli patterns.
India’s high commissioner to Britain, YK Sinha, deputy high commissioner Dinesh Patnaik, writer and actress Meera Syal and director Gurinder Chadha were some of the guests who switched on the lights at Tattershall Castle Ship, London.
The event paid tribute to the work of the emergency services and volunteers who worked in assisting with recent tragic events in London.
Event coordinator Pranav Bhanot said the festival was dedicated to the victims of the recent terror attacks and the Grenfell fire. “It should also celebrate the strength, resilience and bravery of the British public,” he said.
Diwali celebrations also took place at Downing street and Trafalgar Square.
Secretary of state for international development, Priti Patel, paid tribute to British Indians as she hosted Diwali celebrations at Downing Street on Monday (16) evening, praising their “great contribution” to British society.
Patel was standing in for prime minister Theresa May, who was in Brussels at the time.
The British Indian MP, who represents Witham, said the festival of lights is an occasion for “family, friends and community to come together” and is a time to “reflect on our past, look forward to the future and… commemorate the victory of good over evil, light over dark, and right over wrong”.
She added that Indian communities “consistently punched well-above [their] weight” and thanked them for their contributions within education, medicine, law, finance and science.
Thousands of Londoners also gathered at Trafalgar Square on Sunday (15) for the Festival of Light. Mayor Sadiq Khan was also in attendance to join in with the Diwali celebrations. This year marks 15th years of Diwali at Trafalgar Square.
Sadiq khan later tweeted: “Wonderful to join thousands of Londoners & visitors in Trafalgar Square to celebrate the festival of lights #DiwaliLDN #LondonIsOpen”.