Diwali, the religious festival of light celebrated predominantly by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains, is firmly established in London’s cultural calendar. The official date of Diwali 2019 was yesterday, 27 October, as mentioned on Twitter by, among others, London Mayor Sadiq Khan and London Assembly Member Navin Shah and by the Assembly as a whole. On Sunday, 3 November, the capital’s biggest Diwali event will take place in Trafalgar Square with the Mayor’s support, as in previous years. Here’s a short GLA video about last year’s Diwali in the Square, complete with a signature mayoral message.
This year’s Diwali serves as a nice nudge for On London to refresh its and readers’ memories about the range and numbers of different religious groups in the capital. The last census, conducted in 2011, found that just over five per cent or around 412,000 of we Londoners were Hindus, with a particular concentration in the north west of the metropolis, in Harrow and Brent. One per cent or so of Londoners were Sikh, 126,000 people, of whom many live in Ealing. Those numbers have probably edged up since. Jain Londoners are less numerous, though one of them will be familiar to some readers as the presenter of BBC Radio 4’s The World Tonight.
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