Salisbury celebrates Diwali

4th November 2021 marks the start of Salisbury’s very first Window Wanderland. The project will see spectacular art designs installed in windows across the city centre and lit from 4.30pm to 10pm over four evenings.  

The designs this year will have a Diwali theme to them, as 4th November is also the start of the Festival of Lights celebrations. To observe the start of both, and celebrate the diversity in our city, the Nepalese Society of Salisbury is performing an evening of traditional dance and music at Salisbury’s Guildhall. 

Ahead of the launch night, Experience Salisbury has been finding out more about Salisbury’s Nepalese community and Diwali. 

What is Diwali? 

Diwali is a festival celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and some Buddhists. It is a time for people to gather with their families, and illuminate their house to celebrate the victory of light over darkness and good over evil. 

Each country, and even region, has different ways to mark festivities but it is widely associated with the Goddess Lakshmi, who symbolises three virtues: wealth and prosperity, fertility and abundant crops, as well as good fortune. 

Often people will leave the windows and doors of their houses open so that Lakshmi can come in and bless them with wealth and prosperity. They will also bake foods to entice her in and show their gratitude. 

The festival can last for up to five days. Over that time many celebrate animals (the cow, dog, ox and crow) and the lasting bond between sisters and brothers.  

Why is Diwali so important in Salisbury? 

Salisbury has a growing Nepalese community. Many decide to settle in our Traditional Original city after being stationed at local military bases. The close tie between Salisbury and the Gurkha regiment is one that continues to flourish and the Nepalese Society of Salisbury was formed to help families adjust to life in the city. They launched lessons for those who needed help to improve their English and find work. As well as that, the Society brings people together to celebrate traditional festivals and keep the Nepalese culture alive through the younger generations.  

Members of the Nepalese Society of Salisbury in traditional wear

Ratna Bowman from the Nepalese Society of Salisbury said: It’s very important for us and our children to know our culture and tradition. Following what our older generations did makes siblings bond and relationships stronger. We don’t live in our country and we miss family. We become homesick and this brings us together. We can celebrate together.” 

Salisbury embraces people and traditions from around the world. Celebrating Diwali brings us closer to other cultures and helps us learn about the diverse world we live in. 

Diwali and Window Wanderland 

Salisbury has a history of welcoming travellers. Our diversity is something to be proud of and we are thrilled to be working alongside the Nepalese Society of Salisbury on the city’s first Window Wanderland project. 

Many of the designs that will be seen shining out of city centre windows will have a Diwali theme. You can read more about Window Wanderland and the designs here. 

The launch event on Thursday 4th November will celebrate both the start of Diwali and Window Wanderland with an evening of Nepalese dance and music. There will be three performances at 6pm, 7pm and 8pm. There is no need to book, you can turn up on the night but space is limited. Don’t forget to also make a night of it by tracking down the windows on our Wanderland route. Find a map here. 

The Nepalese Society of Salisbury in traditional wear

Sabita Sharma, Chairperson of the Nepalese Society of Salisbury said: "This is the perfect time to celebrate Window Wanderland and Diwali. The festival is all about light triumphing over darkness, very much like our fight against Covid over the last couple of years. It’s going to give a positive message. It’s about victory over evil, lights colour and bringing families together.  

“We are very excited to bring our culture and heritage to the people of Salisbury. During our evening of dance and music we are going to wear our traditional clothes so it’s going to be a good night.” 

Can you help? 

The Nepalese Society of Salisbury is looking for a new venue to hold meetings. If you know of any where they can gather, please let us know by emailing hello@experiencesalisbury.co.uk 

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