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Festival of Lights in Aylesbury, Why, What and How
The project came about last year. Towards the end of August 2017, on a whim, Poonam Gupta (owner of Holy Cow Home) decided to organise the Festival of Lights as a way to bring communities together and celebrate this festival aka Diwali the hindu new year.
She aired the idea with a few friends, and key players who organise town events and with a few volunteers a voluntary group was formed called Holy Cow Community Events, whose sole purpose was to organise a Diwali Mela and invite the wider community to join in. The small scale event was organised in a timeframe of two months. Calling on local businesses for raffle prizes to help with raising funds to cover overheads and with a little help from Aylesbury Town Council and William Harding Grant this was achieved.
We also like to support local causes and have once again chosen to make a contribution to the Mayor of Aylesbury’s chosen charity, this year 2018 it is Carers Bucks
More about the Festival in Aylesbury
The project is a public event and fair for all as we are working closely with BUDS (Buckingham Disability Services) ensuring all are included. It will take place in Kingsbury Square and Bucks County Museum. This will take place on the 27th October 2018, between 1pm and 6pm. The event will raise cultural awareness, planned activities and workshops will encourage engagements, learning, tasting, experiencing in a fun way, and ensuring community cohesion, through involving different communities and community groups, schools, theatre groups and individuals to take part by entertaining activities with a Light theme, and be part of the planned Light Parade
Why Festival of Lights? 
Light creates life, makes things grow, many world cultures celebrate light, the celebration of light is an affirmation of life and human experience. In winter when days are short, cultures across the world have a festival related to light such as Diwali, Hanukkah and Christmas all celebrations often take place during the darkest times of a season. The project is to celebrate life, knowledge over ignorance, hope over despair and to remember every day is a new beginning regardless of an individual’s faith. It is to remember that all of the above values acknowledge that all cultures share the same principle.
This is an annual outdoor public event, starting in the afternoon till dusk, ensuring it is a family event
The square and museum will be filled with activities and stalls. Cultural Dance and music performances and workshops Health and wellbeing education and activities such as yoga, and meditation workshops, Kids Craft and Story telling Light themed Parade around the square involving various groups and school Stage and PA for performances from local groups, and some performances by professionals. Cultural food and cultural attire stalls Themed face painting and Henna art. This is the second time this one off event is planned, once again in the centre of the market town of Aylesbury.
We are building on the success of the previous years event. This year extending the duration and impression. We are delighted that a small group of volunteers have engaged the interest and support of Bucks County Museum, BUDS – Buckingham Disability Service, Aylesbury Town Mayor, involvement and participation of schools, and businesses to showcase and engage with the community of Aylesbury.
We are all part of an integrated communities, we wish to improve relationships through the medium of food, music, dance, entertainment, knowledge sharing, and breaking down barriers, by focusing of what makes every individual similar and to encourage celebration of our differences too as we are all unique at the same time.
In excess of 700 people attended and the success and feedback from the event came in the form of a repeat request from all who attended. This year the event is being upscaled, its more diverse in its delivery to ensure minority groups also come and join in, we are doing this by reaching out through partners such as Mix96, Vale Magazine, Bucks Herald and other existing community group.
This year, in the lead up to the festival we have organised a number of events, as part of the Festival of Lights – Stay Active initiative. Already we organised Cricket Family Fun Day, Heartfull Meditation, Bollywood Dance and Music sessions
The Stay Active initiative was inspired by the Why Festival of Lights, as light sustains life, and as we are fortunate to be given a chance, we can live a fuller and happier life by ensuring we stay active by social activities through community events such as this.
Our work has been rewarded by recognition. We are proud to announce that as well as many businesses sponsorships, Aylesbury Town and Bucks County Council, William Harding Fund, Vale of Aylesbury Housing Trust thriving communities Fund. Our proudest moment thus far is receiving a grant from “The Big Lottery Fund” of £9104. Receiving this award is a mark of quality and recognition of excellent work being done in the community.
Please join in, as we invite you to be part of the many events we organise and create beautiful memories.

There are 2 comments

  1. Leena 6 years ago

    Great initiative Poonam and lovely post.
    Came across this page on my hunt to do some fun n traditional activities for kids to experience Diwali festivity. Look forward to visit this weekend and hope to meet you.

    • poonam 6 years ago

      Fantastic, look forward to catching up tomorrow