Harrow United Deaf Club Eid & Diwali Celebration 2014
The Bridge, Christ church Avenue, Harrow, HA3 5BD
The atmosphere at Harrow United Deaf Club was colourful and vibrant as a huge gathering of over 150, as far as Birmingham and Glasgow, Scotland came together in unity to celebrate and learn more about Eid and Diwali.
The event was welcomed by the Mayor of Harrow, Councillor Ajay Maru, and Uma Kumaran, Parliamentary Candidate who was presented with flowers by Sindhuya Saseetharan, HUDC Chairperson. Other guests in attendances also including Councillor Vina Mithani; Honey Kalaria, a well-known Bollywood dancer/ Choreographer of Honey Academy; and HUDC Patrons – John and Margaret Purnell.
It was a fantastic opportunity for many to meet new people, getting to know more about the culture awareness on Eid and Diwali. The venue was beautifully decorated with Xmas lights and decorative candles to mark the festival of lights (Diwali) and a feast of scrumptious foods, colourful clothes, and henna decorations to mark Eid.
The event was opened by Uma Kumaran, Parliamentary Candidate, much to the surprise of the audience; Uma introduced herself in British Sign Language (BSL): ‘Welcome Eid & Diwali, my name Uma and I am a Labour Candidate’. There was a huge round of applause as Uma learnt BSL briefly earlier in the evening and delivered with perfection! “.
From there, the Mayor of Harrow Councillor Ajay Maru gave a welcome speech: “Thank you to Harrow United Deaf Club for your kind invitation, asking me to join you all to celebrate Eid and Diwali. I am pleased to be here and support the Club’s positive work. I have read all the stories about Harrow United Deaf Club and I must say that the Club have had amazing achievements in the last 5 years. The Club is an inspiration for many of us locally and across the Country – the strength and the passion in working together, bringing community together as a unity, learning from each other and support one another. We need to take away lessons from HUDC and share with other community groups as HUDC is a positive role model that we need to take with us wherever we go.
Today, it is extremely important for us all to be together, respecting each other culture and faiths and to celebrate Eid & Diwali. I wish you all a Happy Eid and Happy Diwali. God bless you all”
We also had two guest speakers – Nafiesa Aslam and Ashish Forfaria. Nafiesa explained about the meaning of Eid Al Adha (Festival or Feast of Sacrifice) and the importance of celebrating Eid. She explained a brief story of Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) who was willing to sacrifice his son Ismail as an act of submission to God’s command, before God then intervened to provide Ibrahim with a lamb to sacrifice instead. Lights are often celebrated in Eid Al Fitr (end of Ramandan).
Ashish explained the importance of Diwali as Festival of Light and shared the story of Rama and Sita and the fight for peace and goodness; bringing light against darkness (evil). In appreciation of their time, both of the guest speakers were presented with beautiful cultural scarf together with a certificate of thanks.
Everyone were wowed with the huge colourful fireworks and then were greeted with fantastic Bollywood performances by Honey Academy runs by Honey Kalaria, Bollywood dancer/ Choreographer. The first performance was by Malvi, a 7yrs old who wowed us with her two stunning and energetic performance. The second performance was by Sarah, a nurse and married a South Indian man. Sarah is an experienced performer of 8years, having studied Bhangra and classical Indian folk dances and gave an exceptional performance about family, love and happiness.
Everyone immensely had fun and were encouraged to go on their feet in learning some Bollywood moves, feeling the vibration of the Bollywood music. As a result, some were selected to participate in an X-Factor style dance competition! With a judge panel from the audiences who shortlisted the performers and came away with a winner – Vikram of Glasgow who won as a best performer.
Honey Kalaria, Bollywood Ambassador to the UK commented on the positive atmosphere of the Deaf Club and how fantastic for people to get together as one huge family, one community and supporting one another. She added: “I am delighted to support such a great organisation who is touching deaf people and their families’ lives in a positive and impactful way. My dance students and I enjoyed in offering some colourful Bollywood entertainment during the festive season of Diwali and Eid. Good luck to Asif and the team and keep up the good work!”
Asif Iqbal MBE, President of HUDC summed up the evening: “It was fantastic for people to get together in a community spirit, to gain better understanding of both cultures – Eid and Diwali. Many people said how much they enjoyed the whole event including socialising, children activities – making candles, having face painting and henna art. We strive for working together with local communities and gain better understanding of each faith and cultures, promoting positive attitudes for all. Special thanks should go to all of our speakers and committee members who worked hard to make the event a great success. We look forward to our next event Christmas Party with special guest and entertainments for all including children and their families.”