Erewash Festival of Light began in 2006 and is a rolling programme of activities , free festivals and events celebrating 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 20,000 people have taken part in arts workshops and public events, creating art work for festivals or simply coming along to enjoy the celebrations. Activities have included lantern processions, performances of dance, music and singing, displays and exhibitions of visual arts and crafts.
Harvest Moon is the full moon that occurs closest to the autumnal equinox. In times past, the light from the 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. Lantern making workshops in schools and with community groups take place in the lead up to the event.
Harvest Moon is a free event for local people to enjoy a range of arts, craft and family activities throughout the day, followed by some food and culminating in a magical lantern procession travelling around the lake as it begins to get dark.
In 2017, Harvest Moon will take place on Saturday 23rd September.
Diwali is the Hindu festival of light; 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 2017, a Diwali Celebration Day will be held at Erewash Museum, Ilkeston on Saturday 14th October.
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 2017 the Long Eaton Christmas Light Switch On will be on Thursday 30th November.
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.
In 2017 the Winter Solstice event will take place on Saturday 16th December at Victoria Park, Ilkeston.
Chinese New Year
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.
The Chinese New Year lantern parade will take place on Saturday 17th February 2018 - starting at Erewash Museum, Ilkeston.
Look out for open workshops at Erewash Museum and venues across the borough. If you want to be involved in the Erewash Festival of Light either as an individual, family, school, community group or volunteer please contact the Arts Development Officers (Frances Watt/Katherine Brown) by email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 0115 907 2244 ext 4604.