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Cambourne's multicultural diverse community marked Diwali, the Festival of Lights, at the Market square and the Hub Community Centre for two days on 10th and 11th November 2018.
Residents made traditional Rangoli designs at the market square and filled them up with coloured sand - a concept of outdoor art popular in many South Asian countries. It was an open-air event with artwork, freestyle Bollywood dances and various community stalls.
Diwali in the Hub on 11th November began with two minutes of silence for the Remembrance Day. Cllr. Mark Howell mentioned the contributions of the British Indian Army where 1.3 million Indian soldiers served in WWI, and as many as 74,187 Indian soldiers died and another 67,000 were wounded during the war.
MP Heidi Allen also attended the festival and lit the candle for Diwali. She addressed the community remembering WWI, the significance of the Diwali celebration and community bonding.
People from various nationalities tried colourful Sarees and Kurtas, joined the prayers and enjoyed an Indian cooked meal. Children made various Rangoli designs and coloured terracotta lamps, and enjoyed sparklers. Each family received a welcoming pack with a claylamp, a packet of sparklers, sweets and a Diwali Greetings card.
Diwali is celebrated by four different faith groups - Hindu, Sikh, Jain and Buddhist. People of all four explained the traditional practices of Diwali.
Cllr. Shrobona Bhattacharya, who led these free Diwali celebrations, said: "Our main goal was to make an integrated community in Cambourne where people can acquire knowledge of other culture and celebrate the diversity together. We wanted to create the ambience of a homely celebration of the festival through various activities which we follow in many South Asian countries and encourage residents of all background to take part.”
Cllr Bhattacharya extended her thanks to everyone who contributed to making the event a success.
LOCAL CHARITY CAMCARE UK runs many activities and festivals free of charge throughout the year for the residents of Cambourne.
CamCare UK works to improve skills through Cambourne Science Festival, Family Art day, Cookery Club and Electronics and Robotics Club. It promotes equality and diversity, running the Festivals of Languages, Diwali, Holi and Mela, and seminars to understand different people from diverse backgrounds.
The founder of CamCare UK Cllr. Shrobona Bhattacharya said, “we want to create opportunities for regular meetups and activities and encourage residents of all backgrounds to take part. Tackling loneliness and working towards good mental health are also our goal.”
Cllr Bhattacharya extended her thanks to the local Councils, Timebank and Cambourne Crier for their support in helping run all these community activities free for all.
Cambourne Timebank provides volunteers and a small grant which helped to buy the festival materials, decorations and the kits for the robotics club.
Cambourne Crier helped to buy the PA system and poster panel. The PA system is used by several community groups, local schools and residents on various occasions.
Cambourne Parish Council approved the small grant of having the free halls as CamCare UK made an application showing its free entry policy for all activities for residents.
South Cambs District Council helped the Electronics club to start and supported with printing materials throughout the year.
Residents of Cambourne Doroteja Maklin, Matic Golob and Payal Priyadarshini all helped CamCare UK with digital and website support.