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A friend of mine reminded me this weekend that it was the Hindu festival of Diwali this week. In case you don’t know, Divali (or the Festival of Light as it is also called) is a celebration held over 5 days by Hindu communities throughout the world. Lights are lit, fireworks are set off and families come together for this important day.
This week’s ‘Photo of the Week’ comes from Diwali celebrations, not in India, but in London. I took them in 2004, during my one year paid internship at Magnum Photo’s London office. I remember having only been at Magnum for a couple of months when this festival came about. Having been inspired day-in-day-out (as I was for most of the year) I headed out onto the streets to try and capture some of the colour and fervour that surrounded the festival on the streets of the UK’s capital. I’d like to share five of those images with you taken during celebrations in 2004.
The festival of ‘light’ refers to the Hindu belief that darkness represents ignorance and light represents knowledge, therefore lights are lit in many ways to symbolize the defeat of negative forces (violence, lust, bigotry, envy etc.) through knowledge. That’s a pretty good message in my book!
London is such an amazing and inspiring city sometimes. Having photographed events such as Diwali, Chinese New Year, the Thames Festival etc., I am proud to be British when I see the kaleidoscope of cultures and people who live in the city. There are only a few cities on earth which are like this and symbolise the multiculturalism that has become part of the country’s identity.
To find out more information about Diwali, head over to the DivaliFestival.org website.