By Tohid Ismail
The Durham Oriental Museum is to hold its annual Diwali celebrations on the 20th October. The celebration of the Indian festival, known as the ‘festival of lights’, will include traditional decorations, food, arts and crafts.
The event will run from 6pm to 8pm, ending with an Indian dance. The first 100 children have been promised a gift of a festive garland. Open to groups of all ages, entrance costs an on-the-door fee of £2 and children under two will be able to enter for free.
A member of the Indian community in Durham, Deepthi Penukonda, who is helping the Museum in its preparation for the night, has said this event and others that the museum holds are “an opportunity for the community to come together and celebrate, and for people to learn about each other’s cultures.”
Charlotte Spink, Access and Community Engagement Officer at The Oriental Museum has also praised the local effort, stating that “this year’s Diwali celebrations are going to be wonderful. The local Indian community have helped plan the event and having their support and inspiration has been vital.”
The only specialist Oriental museum of its kind in the North East, the Oriental Museum houses artefacts from across Asia, the Middle East and Africa, and has won various awards, most notably the ‘Designated Status’ Award in 2008.
It has also long been active in its celebration of other Indian festivals in Durham, hosting a Holi celebration earlier this year. Part of Durham University, the Museum first opened its doors in 1960, celebrating its Diamond Jubilee in 2010, and since partnering with universities and museums across the world.
Photograph: jasleen_kaur via Flickr