CELEBRATIONS were under way across Hampshire today to mark the Hindu festival of Diwali.

Thousands of people are expected to watch colourful firework displays and take part in the annual festivities tonight.

The event, which commemorates the triumph of good over evil, is the most significant religious occasion in the Hindu calendar.

Children at St Mary's CE Primary School in Ascupart Road, Southampton, took part in Indian dancing and a

special play depicting the traditional story of Rama and Sita.

Their performance told the story of the couple's plight to reclaim Lord Rama's kingdom after he spent 14 years in exile.

Every house in India had remained in darkness in his absence, but the streets lit up immediately on his return.

The youngsters aged seven to 11 also took part in singing, and performed in front of their parents and teachers yesterday.

Teacher Jane Waddup said: "The event went really well and everyone enjoyed themselves. The children had a chance to celebrate Diwali and learn about the Hindu culture.

"I also think it helped pupils develop their performance skills and they all worked together as a team."

Youngsters in Swanmore have also been getting into the Diwali spirit this week.

Children at Swanmore Pre-School made Divas - clay lamps - and enjoyed Mehndi hand-painting sessions to learn about the Hindu


Senior supervisor Sharon Middleton said: "Because so many people in this country come from different backgrounds, this helped the children learn and understand different cultures.

"It's something I wanted them to learn about and they seemed to enjoy it."


Treat the candle as you would any other flame. Use only enough ghee or melted butter to last for your period of worship. If you do need to leave the candle unattended, make sure that it rests securely on a surface that will not melt or burn.

Keep the flame at a safe distance from curtains, furniture and decorations.

Keep the flame out of reach of children and animals.

Treat fireworks with great caution. Only buy fireworks marked with British Safety Standard 7114.

When cooking deep-fried food, dry it before you put it in the hot oil. If the oil starts to smoke, turn off the heat and leave the pan to cool. Never fill the pan more than one-third full of oil. Never throw water over the pan.

Fit working smoke alarms on each floor level in your home and test the alarm every week.