YORK Hindus, locals from various religious backgrounds and York Civic Party came together to celebrate a Hindu festival.

After the restrictions last year, York’s Indian Hindu community could once again celebrate Diwali and this year they got together in Haxby on the outskirts of the city in the town's Haxby Memorial Hall to mark the occasion.

The event was attended by members of York Civic Party, including the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress, The Sheriff and Sherriff’s Lady, and Haxby councillors, Ian Cuthbertson and Carol Runciman.

Diwali, known as the ‘Festival of Light’, also celebrated by Sikhs and Jains, marks the victory of good over evil, light over darkness, and knowledge over ignorance.

Mahendra Verma, from the University of York who attended the event said: “Hindus who are settled abroad, as in Britain, celebrate it at home and wherever possible as a community festival in a temple or in a Community Hall.

“The event was successful because of the enthusiasm and commitment of the York Indian Hindu community.

“They did it in the traditional style, quite a few young Indian Hindu families wanted Diwali to be celebrated at the community level and more importantly wanted it to be celebrated in the traditional manner with fireworks, crackers, and sparklers.”

There are approximately 100 Hindu families in and around York, who celebrated at the event at the heart of Haxby earlier this month on Saturday, November 6.

It began with the York Civic Party and Haxby councillors lighting the Deepa oil lamps, dedicated to the goddess Lakshmi, which symbolise prosperity.

It was followed by the Hindu tradition of Maha Pooja, which involves the offering of flowers and fruits to images of the gods, which all who attended had the opportunity to perform.

Cllr Cuthbertson said: “It is a very family-friendly event and that was apparent from the atmosphere of the occasion.

“Carol and I were invited to judge the rangoli patterns and presented our view as to the best three of them.

“We thank the hosts for inviting us, and for giving us a a very enjoyable evening’s entertainment and meal.”

The event was organised by Dr Manu Ramegowda and Dilip Govindaraj, who are part of the Hindu Faith Advisors team at York St John University.