Diwali at RAMM

Diwali, also known as Deepawali, is the Hindu Festival of Lights. In 2020 we hosted a Diwali celebration for the community in partnership with Exeter Hindu Cultural Centre.

Date of project: October 2019

About Diwali at RAMM:

In 2019, in partnership with Exeter Hindu Cultural Centre, RAMM hosted a range of activities and performances to celebrate the Hindu festival of Diwali. The celebrations were welcome to all ages, all cultures, and backgrounds across the local community. This event built on a relationship that RAMM and Hindu Cultural Centre have been developing for some time, and it turned out to be a fantastic celebration of community, music, food and crafts.  

Diwali is the Indian festival of lights. It usually lasts five days and is celebrated during the Hindu month Kartika, which overlaps October and November. It is one of the most popular festivals of Hinduism, and symbolises the spiritual “victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance”.

Visitors were invited to immerse themselves in the rhythms and tastes of India for the Festival of Lights. The event opened with welcome and prayers led by Hindu community members alongside Ganesh, (the Hindu god of wisdom, success and good luck), who has been in the museum for a century. We had speeches from the Lord Mayor as well as Hindu Cultural Centre members explaining the significance of the festival of Diwali to their community members. Attendees could taste delicious homemade snacks and sweets, move to the bhangra beat, make a marigold garland or a sip a refreshing mango lassee from the cafe. The live Bollywood music got people up and dancing and the legendary RSVP Bhangra band filled the museum with Indian beats.

Participants & partners:

RAMM and Exeter Hindu Cultural Centre fulfilled a long held joint ambition to co-host a public celebration of Diwali. Visit the Exeter Hindu Cultural Centre‘s website for more information about Exeter’s Hindu Community and festivals.

In 2018 RAMM reached out to Exeter Hindu Cultural Centre when Ganesh was being removed from the gallery during improvements to the building. The museum wanted to consult over his display, and celebrate his return with due respect. Members of the Hindu Cultural Centre donated a permanent garland to adorn Ganesh, provided a copy of the sacred book (Bhagavad Gita), and hand-hemmed a brightly coloured, sparkling cloth for his plinth. Members advised on a respectful height to view the deity, and requested a donations box to enable practising Hindus to be generous in his presence. You can read more about how the museum looks after our statue of Ganesh here.


“This was a fabulous celebration. Thank you to everyone involved in the celebration. I would definitely attend more events like this.”

Firstly, I must congratulate the team at RAMM and the Hindu Cultural Centre of Exeter for hosting a fantastic Diwali event. I can honestly say, having lived for over three decades in a couple of metropolitan cities for over 30 years, that this event was a “first” in my experience. The entertainment items presented fitted perfectly with the ambience of the museum, and was appreciated by visitors and to cap it all, the food was yummy and the museum’s very own Shree Ganeshji was present to bless and adorn the occasion. A great way to “connect” the diverse Devon community in a lovely venue.”

“I was born in Uganda, and moved to Totnes recently from Birmingham. As Hindus, we found out about the Hindu Cultural Centre and went to an event last month, where we heard about this. It’s so impressive to see how you have displayed Ganesh here. For us, these gods are alive once they have been worshipped. You do it so much better than the V&A in London.”

Further information

Ruth Gidley

Engagement Officer, RAMM

[email protected]

T 01392 265305