Diwali is the oldest of all the festivals from South Asia. It is also an occasion for celebration by Jains and Sikhs.

The festival of Diwali extends over five days. Because of the lights, fireworks and sweets involved, it’s a great favourite with children. The festival celebrates the victory of good over evil, light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance, although the actual legends that go with the festival are different in different parts of India.

In Britain, as in India, the festival is a time for thoroughly spring-cleaning the home, wearing new clothes and most importantly, decorating buildings with fancy lights.

The British city of Leicester is noted for its Diwali celebrations.


Diwali is an official holiday in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Mayanmar, Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobaggo, Suriname, Malaysia, Singapore and Fiji.

The day after the celebrations for Diwali is referred to as Gujarati Hindu is seen as the start of the New Year.

Bhai Bij – this is the day for a sister to worship her brother. The borther is the family’s representation of Krishna who killed the demon Narkasura.

Labh Pacham – this is the name given to the start of the new Financial Year for Hindu shopkeepers and Businessmen.

In Goa and Koncan, the day after Diwali they create effigies in the image of the demon Narkasura and burn them early evening.

Diwali marks the end of harvest in most areas of India. They celebrate the year that has been and pray for a good harvest for the year to come.

The word Diwali means ‘row of lamps’. It is commonplace for rows of lamps to be outside of the homes of families celebrating diwali. The little lamps ‘dipa’ are filled with ghee (clarified butter) and light the way for the spirits.

The dipa are left burning all night and Indian homes are cleaned thoroughly to make sure that the goddess Laksmi feels welcome
The Diwali festival celebrates the return of Lord Rama, Sita and Lakshimana after their years in exile.

The celebrations last for five days and each have special significance. The first day is Dhanteras – the financial year starts. The second days is Naraka Chaturdasi – celebrating the vanquishing of Naraka. Day 3 is Amavasya – the worship of Lakshmi – signifies wealth and best wishes to all devotees. Day 4 – Kartika Shudola Padyani – celebrating when Bali took over his new kingdom and day 5 – Yama Dvitya – the day when sisters worship their brothers.

Gambling during Diwali is encouraged as it is believed to bring good luck for the year ahead.

Diwali is significant in the Sikh faith as the foundation stone was laid at the Golden Temple at Amritsar was laid on the first day of Diwali in 1577.

Traditionally, families gather together to visit temple, eat with family and friends a specially prepared festive meal, exchange gifts, cards and traditional sweets.

Diwali would not be complete without the sweets. Traditionally, Indian food is hot a spicy but their desserts are super sweet too so it is a complete opposite. For diwali, the traditional sweets are usually milk flavoured with choices from Laddoos, Kaju Katli, Jalebi and others.

Southport British Musical Fireworks Championships 2014


Saturday 10th October 2014 saw three more companies battling it out in the skies over Southport as they entertained the tens of thousands gathered for the British Musical Fireworks Championships.

First up to fire were SmArt Pyrotechnics: Starting with the sounds of Michael Buble will always do it for me, but I have to say this is on another level to the displays enjoyed on Friday. Incredible, symmetrical (yeah baby) and an absolutely beautiful selection of effects, colours and the timing was absolutely spot on. On the change of pace, we moved onto the haunting strains of Enya and the display was utterly hypnotic with some wonderful lancework and the criss cross on the ground work was nothing short of amazing you could actually hear the explosion on the musical beat. Outstanding…. Crackling comet tails, sweeping fans of gold and green – the crowds clearly agreed as they burst into rapturous applause at the change of music.

A beautiful mixture of colour which lit up the whole of the firing area and the hearts and pinks for the Etta James section were amazing and the titanium flashes just added to the drama.

The finale was packed to the rafters with some staggeringly big shells and the daisy shells were especially lovely and the final burst of HUGE willow shells was utterly breathtaking – well done team SmArt!!

SMArt Pyrotechnics – Southport British Musical Fireworks Championship Winner from Pyro Productions on Vimeo.

Second to fire, Classic Fireworks stuck with a very British Theme with rousing music selections from the outset as the night filled with the sounds of the 633 Squadron theme tune followed by Zadok the Priest from the Handel.

There were some lovely bright purples which were gorgeous with some intricate firing in the midst of the display. The Sailors Hornpipe played whilst the team threw as much into the air as possible but some of the colour changing comets were beautiful but little symmetry. The sweeping fans were lovely and they finished off the display with crowd pleaser, Land of Hope and Glory which was accompanied by some absolutely beautiful shell work.

Last but not least, Gala Fireworks. The theme was a hark back to the 70’s & 80’s with sledgehammer, jitterbug boogie, another brick in the wall and the theme of the 80’s The Old Grey Whistle Test.

Gala Fireworks – Southport British Musical Fireworks Championship 2nd Place from Pyro Productions on Vimeo.

They started out as they meant to go on with some lovely tailed comets and some brilliant colour variations. There were some very loud parts and again plenty going up into the sky. Outstanding for me were the giant tipped crackling palm shell – the bronze to green change was lovely – the silver fish and pearls into crossettes and spiralling tails and ring shells.

The display was well paced and had a really good finale with lots of glitter and hearts but lovely.

All players, well done but in my opinion, at the end of Saturday I definitely had SmArt Pyrotechnics in front.

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