London, Oct 10: London's Pakistani-origin mayor Sadiq Khan will launch the annual Diwali celebrations here at the Trafalgar Square on Sunday, featuring a mix of music, dance and live performances to mark the festival with people of "all backgrounds".
"London is open to all people and all communities we don't just tolerate each other's differences, we embrace them. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Londons joyous celebration of Diwali in Trafalgar Square," said Khan.
"Here, London's Hindu, Jain and Sikh communities come together to celebrate and to share the festivities with Londoners and visitors of all backgrounds. Diwali's central message of peace and mutual respect is one that we can all learn from.
To all those celebrating this month, I wish you a very happy and enjoyable Diwali," he said. The free event is organised to mark Diwali by the Mayor of London's office and the Diwali in London Committee and is supported by Jet Airways and the Incredible India campaign.
Khan will officially open the event by lighting a lamp on the main stage on Sunday alongside his Indian-origin Deputy Mayor for Business, Rajesh Agrawal. Throughout the day, an Indian street food market will sell a variety of vegetarian food and non-alcoholic drinks.
Revellers will also have the chance to don a sari, learn a Bollywood dance, participate in yoga and meditation sessions for beginners, get a henna tattoo, pick up top health tips, find out more about Diwali and the faiths behind it, or simply enjoy this year's illuminations, the mayor's office said.
This year, the Mayor of London is also inviting members of the public to share their Diwali stories on social media. "This year we celebrate 15th year of Diwali in Trafalgar Square, London. This wonderful festival is filled with lights, lamps, music, sweets and gifts, but the Diwali story is more than the story of a single day of festive celebrations.
It is a story of dedication to the pursuance and protection of the truth, justice, cooperation and respect," said Sanjay Gadhvi, Diwali in London Committee Chairperson 2016.