Diwali at Little Stoke Youth Centre

Diwali Rangoli - photo by abhinaba [licence: cc-attr]

South Gloucestershire is fast becoming a hub of multiculturalism, and the youth of today are showing a positive openness towards a variety of faiths and cultures. The libraries in the area did a special Diwali-themed Story Time for pre-school children, and whilst Christmas is an important focus for youth activities, the youth club in Little Stoke made time to learn about Diwali too.

At Little Stoke Youth Centre, young people aged between 11 and 19 celebrated the ‘festival of lights’ on a Tuesday night when the club holds activities oriented towards those with learning difficulties. Youth volunteers from mainstream schools also attend on a Tuesday to create a sense of integration between young people with different needs. For Diwali, the young people dressed up in Indian tunics, wore bindis (a patterned sticker worn on the centre of the forehead), cooked Indian snacks like samosas and jalebis, and also danced to a few Bollywood tunes along with their usual chart toppers.

The meaning of Diwali was conveyed through a quiz which enabled the young people to learn about Hinduism. A few lamps were lit in the centre, symbolising the victory of good over evil that is remembered during Diwali. Apart from praying for wealth and prosperity, Hindus remember how the King Rama returned home after defeating the demon Ravana during Diwali.

Little Stoke Youth Centre will soon be decorated for its Christmas party, welcoming young people to join in a Christmas disco and festive party games. The club located on Little Stoke Lane is an important and well-loved place of social interaction for young people, although its future is uncertain due to structural changes that will be affecting youth services after March 2013.


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