Enacting the myth of Diwali

Lighting lamps for Diwali is an enactment of a mythic story. The myth of Diwali tells of a time when demons invaded the world. The ten-headed demon king, Ravana, had stolen away the beautiful Princess Sita and imprisoned her in his demon kingdom, Lanka. Prince Rama and his brother Laksham set off to find Sita. On the way they are helped by magical monkey, Hanuman, who can shrink, grow and fly! Hanuman flies over the sea; sets fire to Lanka; carries a mountain of healing herbs in the palm of his hand to save Laksham, and grows to the size of an elephant to break down steel doors and set  Sita free. The demons scuttle under the earth, where they have lived ever since. As Rama and Sita travel home, people come out of their houses to place little lamps on their doorsteps, to light their way home.

Hanuman carries the magic mountain! From 'Rama and Sita - path of flames' by Sally Pomme Clayton illustrated by Sophie Herxheimer

Hanuman carries the magic mountain! From ‘Rama and Sita – path of flames’ by Sally Pomme Clayton illustrated by Sophie Herxheimer

This is a story I have loved for many years: working with South Bank Gamelan to narrate a South East Asian version (2003); creating a performance with The Unicorn Theatre and a band of North Indian musicians (2004); and writing my own version of it, Rama and Sita – path of flames (Frances Lincoln 2010). This is an eternal story which has hundreds and hundreds of different versions, performance forms, and styles. I will be telling a short version of the story to  celebrate the Hindu festival of lights at the National Maritime Museum.  At the end of the day there will be a spectacular outdoor lantern parade by Emergency Exit Arts, and dancing to the sounds of the amazing Bollywood Brass Band.

Hanuman lives with Rama and Sita forever from 'Rama and Sita - path of flames' by Sally Pomme Clayton and Sophie Herxheimer

Hanuman lives with Rama and Sita forever, from ‘Rama and Sita – path of flames’ by Sally Pomme Clayton and Sophie Herxheimer

 

 National Maritime Museum
Sat Nov 9
The Story of Diwali – Join storyteller Sally Pomme Clayton to hear the mythical story of Diwali.
Times: 13.00–13.30, 15.00–15.30
Location: Baltic Exchange Memorial Glass gallery
Age: 6+
Times: 17.00–17.30
Location: Sammy Ofer Wing Foyer followed by Bollywood Brass Band, and lantern procession.

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