Diwali is a major religious festival mainly celebrated in Hinduism but is also popular within many other religions including Jainism and Sikhism, and with Manchester being such a richly multi-cultural place, it’s no surprise that there’s plenty to do when it comes to Diwali. Its name is derived from the term Deepavali which translates to ‘row of lights,’ and it annually lives up to its name in spectacular fashion. The purpose of the holiday is to symbolise the victory of light over darkness, as those celebrating welcome wealth and success into their lives.
The holiday lasts for five days from the 13th day of the dark half of the lunar month (Ashvina) to the second day of the light half (Karttika) and this year, it begins on November 12. This year, the festival of lights is being celebrated all over Manchester, with events, food specials and learning opportunities to take part in, so if you want to get involved, here’s our guide to things to do to celebrate Diwali in Manchester.
1. Diwali at the Museum
Manchester Museum hosts a spectacular celebration for Diwali this year on November 11, giving the chance for people of all ages and cultures to learn about and get involved with the spirit of the festival. Celebrations start when the doors open at 1oam with a series of workshops for families throughout the day.
Then, at 6pm, the museum gets the party started, kicking off with a performance from the Rakesh Joshi Trio. Rakesh is a maestro harmonium player, keyboardist and singer who plays captivating Indian raga and folk music. There will also be a performance from Dhol Drummers before DJ Ravi Apnabeat hits the decks to spin tunes until closing at 10pm. There’ll also be snacks and light bites provided by Hungamaa – all free! Booking is required to secure your spot for the evening’s festivities here.
📍Manchester Museum, University of Manchester, Oxford Rd, Manchester M13 9PL.
2. Deepavali Kondattam 2023
Registered charity Northern Tamil Association, run by volunteers, takes pride in organising one of the biggest cultural talent shows in UK, and Deepavali Kondattam 2023 promises to be a fun-filled family event, packed with food and entertainment. The celebration boasts over 50 programmes from nine regions all over the UK, all coming together to showcase their talents onstage. The celebration aims to exhibit the expanse of Indian culture, and all participating children will receive a certificate and a medal, with plenty of take-home trophies.
The Northern Tamil Association has always celebrated Deepavali with great pomp and flair, so if you want be a part of the cultural extravaganza on Saturday 4 November, grab tickets here.
📍Wythenshawe Forum Hall, Forum Centre, Simonsway, Manchester M22 5RX.
3. Bollynights Manchester: DIWALI DHAMAKA
Join Cargo Manchester for this unmissable night, where the drinks are great, the atmosphere is electric and the party is in full swing. Expect Dhol drummers, live performances and many more surprises as Cargo hosts this student night with a difference. Bollywood, Desi and South Indian music will be celebrated and cranked up all night long, with ticketholders welcome between 11pm-3am on Thursday 9 November – grab tickets here.
📍Cargo, Unit 5-6, The Printworks, Manchester M4 2BS.
4. Diwali and Poppy Making
To celebrate both Diwali and Remembrance Sunday, on Saturday 11 November West Gorton Community Park will host Diwali and Poppy Making, bringing together Indian and British culture. Locals can make their own poppy sun catcher to hang on the park trees or take home and draw poppies as a small craft on a tiny logs to get involved with Remembrance Day.
In terms of Diwali, crafts will include making your own candle holder out of clay and paint with a design (however intricate that may be) – tealight candles will be available at the park on the day. The same drawing activities will be available for Diwali celebrations as Remembrance Day drawings, so get creative! The event is free, but book your place here.
📍West Gorton Community Park, West Gorton, Manchester M12 5FW.
5. Diwali Utsav 2023
Although not technically Greater Manchester, why not join Whiston Town Hall for an incredible celebration of lights and joy at Diwali Utsav 2023? Get ready for a mesmerising evening filled with vibrant colours, delicious food, and enchanting performances, and immerse yourself in the festive atmosphere as we mark the triumph of light over darkness. Don’t miss out on this unforgettable Diwali celebration! Get tickets here.
📍Whiston Town Hall, Old Colliery Rd, Whiston, Prescot, L35 3QX.
6. Spread the joy with Diwali Basket Brigade
2023 marks DBB’s 6th year helping families across the UK, and they are aiming for a record number of food baskets to be distributed out. Diwali Basket Brigade really encompasses what the festival is about: the victory of good over evil. If you are able to help by donating money or time as a volunteer, you can get involved here.
7. Diwali Hanging Decoration Workshop at Manchester Craft and Design Centre
Make your own Diwali hanging decoration using colourful pompoms and paper! A fun little activity and a vibrant decoration for you to enjoy in your own home over the Diwali festivities, taking place on Sunday 12 November. There will be 45-minute sessions between 11 am – 3:30 pm, with eight spaces per 45-minutes, all free and no need to book – all materials will be provided. Suitable for all ages (children must be accompanied by an adult).
📍Space2, Ground Floor, Manchester Craft and Design Centre, 17 Oak St, Manchester M4 5JD.