I would like to wish you all a Happy Diwali! This is one of the most important and joyous festivals of the year for millions of Hindus, Sikhs and Jains in Britain, in India and around the world.
Diwali, also know as Deepavali, is the Festival of Lights when people celebrate the triumph of light over darkness and good over evil. It recalls the return of the Lord Rama and his wife Sita to their home after a period of exile, to be greeted by a series of lights to guide them back.
Diwali lasts for five days with the peak of the festival taking place this year on Thursday 4th November. Traditionally Diwali is a time for family gatherings, gift giving, parties and fireworks. So if you hear fireworks going off this week, it may be hard to tell if they are for bonfire night or Diwali! Many will decorate their homes with festive lights as part of Diwali celebreations.
At this special festive time of the year for my Hindu, Jain and Sikh constituents, I like to highlight the tremendous success of these communities in Britain. This is a good opportunity to celebrate their huge positive contribution to cultural, social and economic life in our country.