The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, joined thousands from the local community and further afield at the iconic Neasden Temple to celebrate Diwali, the Hindu ‘Festival of Light’, on Sunday 12 November 2023.
The Temple’s celebrations illustrated an abundance of family values, personal spirituality, and the enduring spirit of community giving, casting a radiant light of hope in these challenging and uncertain times. The Mayor’s presence reflected the importance of London’s cultural diversity and communal harmony, and underscored the City’s spirit of inclusivity.
Mr Khan inaugurated the sparkling fireworks display in the evening, which brought a fusion of light and sound into the night skies of north-west London. Thousands joined for the time-honoured rituals, harmonious sounds of music and sumptuous vegetarian food that provided something for everyone to enjoy.
Inspired by His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj’s spirit of selfless service and charity, the Temple had partnered with The Felix Project to support the provision of fresh fruit and vegetables to local food banks at a time when the cost-of-living crisis is adversely impacting many families.
Sharing his impressions of the Temple’s celebrations, Mr Khan said, “One of the things I love about coming to this Temple is the diversity of people. People from all across the country and all across the world come here to celebrate Diwali.
“I am in awe of what the Neasden Temple volunteers do. The most joyous thing about your work is not only serving those who are Hindu but everybody – the youth work, the work during the Pandemic, the work to help the elderly, but it is particularly important to help those struggling because of the cost-of-living crisis. The Felix Project is an amazing organisation and an amazing project. It makes me really happy to see the partnership between Neasden Temple and The Felix Project. Making sure others benefit from this generosity makes me incredibly proud.”
In the evening, the Temple paid tribute to heroes from the armed forces who sacrificed their lives in service to their country during times of conflict in a moving Remembrance Sunday assembly attended by several members of the British Army, Western Front Association, Royal British Legion, and various faith communities.