Celebrate Diwali in Cheltenham, Holst’s childhood home

Hindu festival of lights Diwali will be celebrated at Holst Birthplace Museum (HBM) in Cheltenham on 17th November 2012.

Cheltenham is the childhood home of prolific British composer Gustav Theodore Holst (1874-1934).

Diwali celebrations at HBM will include 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.

The Museum is also planning a Hindu themed dance-drama and Hindu culture session for schools.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed described the move as “a step in the right direction”.
Mr. 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. Holst was reportedly inspired by Hinduism.

Mr. Zed urged museums all over the 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.
Diwali, which falls on 13th November this year, aims at dispelling the darkness and lighting up the lives and symbolizes the victory of good over evil.

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