Birmingham City Council

Festivals of Our Lives Mrs Patni

Festivals of Our Lives


Mrs Patni

I was born in 1953 in Kenya. I lived there for 22years before I came to England. My father was a goldsmith so we were quite well off and we had servants who did the housework. We lived in a big 4 bedroom terraced house which we owned.

As a child I went to school until I was 13 years old. When my mother became ill, I decided to leave school to look after my mother and my three brothers and one sister who were younger than me. This meant I didn get a chance to study again. My mother died when I was 15.

I got engaged in Kenya to my fiancand then in 1975 I came to England and we married. We first lived in Preston with my husband family.

My early memory of celebrating Diwali in Africa was that all of us would get up early in the morning and have a bath, get dressed and then have something to eat and then do the Rangoli. The Rangoli is a big circle which is filled with different colours to make nice colourful designs, then the fireworks would start early in the morning. We went to the Temple at five olock in the morning and the fireworks could be heard around the city. At the Temple we would pray and have food to eat and sweets were given out and the celebrations went on for 15 days.

My first Diwali in England was very different, we didn get up at 5 olock in the morning to go to the Temple. There was only one Temple in Preston which we went to in the evening to pray and meet other people. Everyone that went to the Temple would cook a dish at home and take it to the Temple, then we all would share the food with one another and eat together sitting on the floor.

Diwali since 1975 has changed. There are lights that are switched on in Leicester which are the biggest outside India. Lots of people go to see these lights, I have been to see them once or twice, they are really good. People nowadays let off fireworks in the evening in their back gardens at home, and at the Temples, but it doesn really last for 15 days as it used to in Africa. We have music and parties that are held in halls.

I do prefer Diwali now because in the past there weren that many temples, but now there are plenty of temples and there always something happening there.


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