COLOURFUL costumes and dynamic dancing were witnessed at the celebration of the Hindu festival of Navratri in Harrow and Brent.
The nine-day long event, which symbolises the triumph of good over evil and ends today (Thursday), has been played out with prayers and performances at venues across the two boroughs.
Festivities began in Harrow on Wednesday (Sept 28) with a Pothi Yatra, a musical procession of devotees from the International Siddhashram Shakti Centre in Palmerston Road to Byron Hall at Harrow Leisure Centre in Christchurch Avenue where a number of speeches and religious recitals, known as katha, took place.
The Mayor of Harrow, Councillor Mrinal Choudhury, said: "As Mayor of Harrow I was honoured to be part of the Navaratri procession which attracted large crowds of residents.
"Even the weather played its part with the sun shining for the duration of the day. It was a wonderful celebration and a great example of the strong community spirit here in Harrow. I hope these good community relations continue to grow for years to come."
During the celebrations in Brent, children performed Garba, a type of dance from the Gujarat region of India, as well as Dandiya Raas, a traditional folk dance form of Vrindavan, in India.
Mahendra Pattni, treasurer of umbrella organising group Hindu Council Brent, said yesterday (Wednesday): "Everything is going fantastically well and everybody is having a good time, and the good weather has helped.
"We've had the same number of venues and the same number of people taking part. But we are preparing a petition right now and throughout the nine days have been asking attendees to support our campaign to reinstate the £67,000 funding for Navratri from Brent Council next year.
"Without it, we'll have great difficulty a) continuing with the same number of venues and b) keeping up attendance because we will have to increase the entry charge so fewer people will come."
Labour-run Brent Council's executive committee decided in July to scrap public subsidy for nine cultural or faith-related events from April 1 2012 - Chanukah, St Patrick’s Day, Eid, Diwali, Christmas, St George’s Day, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Month, International Women’s Day, and Navratri - but keep grants for a 30,000-strong generic 'Brent Celebrates' event, Guy Fawkes Night and Holocaust Memorial Day.