Erewash Festival of Light
The Erewash Festival of Light began in 2006 and is a rolling programme of activities, free festivals and events which celebrate a range of traditional and culturally diverse celebrations from September to February each year. These include Harvest Moon, Diwali, Christmas, Winter Solstice and Chinese New Year.
Since it began, over 15,000 people have taken part in arts workshops and public events, creating art work for the festivals or simply coming along to enjoy the celebrations. Activities have included lantern processions, performances of dance, music and singing and displays and exhibitions of visual arts and crafts.
The Harvest Moon event in 2016 will take place on Satruday 24th September from 4pm - 7.30pm.
Harvest Moon is the full moon that occurs closest to the autumnal equinox. In times past, the light from Harvest Moon was said to help farmers working to bring in their crops even after the sun had set, hence the name ‘Harvest Moon’.
The Harvest Moon festival of music, food, art and light has taken place each September since 2006 and began as a celebration of the food grown and harvested on Kirk Hallam allotments. We work closely with Kirk Hallam Community Alliance, a local voluntary group to help them plan and deliver the festival. There are plenty of activities on approach to the event, such as lantern making workshops and cookery sessions.
Harvest Moon is a free event which invites local people to enjoy a range of arts, craft and family activities throughout the day, followed by a community feast of locally grown food in the evening. After the feast, a magical lantern procession travels around the lake as it begins to get dark.
In 2016 there will be a Diwali Day at Erewash Museum on Saturday 15th November from 11am - 3pm. This will feature Indian storytelling, diva lamp making, rangoli making and some Bollywood dancing. There will also a Diwali performance from Longmoor Primary School and Draycott Primary School at Friesland Performing Arts Centre on Friday 14th November. This event will be limited to parents of children from those schools.
Diwali is both the Hindu festival of lights; the most popular of all the festivals celebrated across the Indian sub-continent and the Sikh celebration of the return of the sixth Nanak.
Since 2006 we have worked with a number of schools and community groups, including Indian Community Association Erewash (ICAE), to create a programme of visual and performing arts. Art work created by local children has included rangoli, patterns created by using rice and lentils, and diyas, traditional clay pots used for burning oil. We offer open workshops so all local children and families can participate in these activities. Professional dancers and musicians also work with schools and other groups to create performances which are performed at the final celebration, a free event of music, dance and South Asian food.
In 2016, we will be working with children from Dovedale Primary School who will lead the procession for the light switch on in Long Eaton on Thursday 24th November.
Christmas is celebrated in the towns of Long Eaton and Ilkeston with the switching on of the Christmas Lights. For these events we send professionals artists into local schools and other community groups to help them create lanterns and other illuminated structures which are processed through the town centres before the switch on of the lights. We have also worked with children involved in the national initiative ‘Sing Up’, preparing seasonal songs that the children perform at the events.
In 2016 the Winter Solstice event will take place on Saturday 17th December at Victoria Park, Ilkeston.
Winter Solstice is a magical event which was traditionally celebrated on the Pagan calendar to celebrate the year’s shortest day on 21st December when the days begin to get longer and the sun stays longer in the sky each day until the Summer Solstice on June 21st. We work with groups of children and adults in schools and in the community, such as residential homes and Girl Guides. We run public workshops on approach to the event, including lantern making, tree wishes and other art work made from natural and recycled materials, such as calicos or mud paintings at Ilkeston Library and Erewash Museum.
Chinese New Year
In 2017 we will celebrate the year of the Rooster for Chinese New Year at a public event in Ilkeston Market Place on Saturday 4th February.
Chinese New Year is the finale to the annual Festival of Light programme and attracts approximately 400 people each year. Highlights include the lantern procession, a traditional dragon dance, ribbon dancers, live Chinese music and displays of flags, banners and illuminated animal puppets depicting animals from the Chinese Zodiac. Professional dancers, musicians and other artists work with schools and community groups to create a huge range of performing and visual art work to display. Like Winter Solstice, we run public workshops at Erewash Museum on approach to the final event, where children and families can participate in arts activities, such as creating lanterns to bring along to the procession. The procession leaves the museum and travels through the town centre, ending on the market square where a spectacle of performance by local children takes place.