Christmas might be a Christian celebration but the diverse community of Hounslow has opened their hearts to the Christmas spirit and all its goodness by coming together to witness the inauguration of the Christmas lights.

On the 23rd November Hounslow witnessed its most awaited annual procession: The Winter Lights. Led by the traditional South Asian drums compelling the audience to dance, the parade signaled the end of the Halloween season and the arrival of the Christmas festivities.

The parade started at 6 30 pm at the corner of Holloway street as men, women and children marched across the highstreet, pyramid-shaped paper lanterns in hands lighting up the way. It was as if stars had descended upon Hounslow highstreet. They took a stop at Trinity Church where the Mayor of Hounslow addressed the crowd. He paid special attention to all the children who were ecstatic to be a part of the procession. Surrounded by a group of excited youngsters, he began the countdown. Accompanied by the drums the crowd joined in and cheered as the Christmas lights were lit up. They continued marching to bell square where they enjoyed a firework display alongside the drizzle of rain.

The evening highlighted a sense of community, appreciation of diversity and the arrival of the festive season. The event ended with a bhangra performance drawing in people of all nationalities, cultures and religions to dance and celebrate the Christmas spirit.

By Shazreen Rashid