Hindu festival of lights Diwali is being celebrated at Holst Birthplace Museum (HBM) in Cheltenham (United Kingdom) on November 17, which is the childhood home of prolific British composer Gustav Theodore Holst (1874-1934).
According to reports, Diwali celebrations at HBM include: “Follow your nose and follow the spice trail around the museum”, Henna Hand Painting, children’s activity exploring use of light in art, chai, and traditional sweets for children. Museum volunteers will be dressed in saris on the occasion. Museum is also planning a Hindu themed dance-drama and Hindu culture session for schools.
Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, commended HBM for providing opportunity to the area residents to further explore Hindu festivals and concepts through Diwali celebration and to keep the legacy of Holst alive, who was reportedly inspired by Hinduism. Zed urged museums all over UK to celebrate Hindu festivals of Diwali and Holi to bring together the communities where they can learn and play together.
Reports suggest that Holst, well known for his orchestral suite The Planets, was fascinated by Hindu spirituality, culture and mysticism, and Sanskrit works, and composed a chamber opera Savitri, a three-act opera Sita, two Kalidas texts and four groups of hymns from Rig-Veda. He enrolled in University College London to learn Sanskrit to translate Sanskrit works into English.
Laura Kinnear is the curator of HBM, which opened in 1975. Cheltenham, a large spa town and borough in Gloucestershire (England) and located on the edge of the Cotswolds hills, is home to Gold Cup, the flagship race of British steeplechase horse racing. Colin Hay is the Mayor.
Diwali, which falls on November 13 this year, aims at dispelling the darkness and lighting up the lives and symbolizes the victory of good over evil. Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal.