Blog: “Full of colour, full of light, full of smiles and happy hearts but most importantly, full of food!”

Continuing the legacy of the Ramadan Iftar event held at Lord’s Cricket Ground back in April, a group of like-minded ECB employees put on an incredible Diwali event in the Long Room in the run up to the magical festival. Members of the organising committee Hina Mistry and Shilly Pancholi talk to us about what it meant to them to stage this event.

Wednesday 12th October in the Long Room at Lord’s - The ECB Presents Diwali. We still can’t believe we made this happen! 

It’s a very proud moment for us to have been part of the event planning committee and to have successfully hosted the first ever ECB Diwali Event. So, how did we get there? Let’s rewind to a conversation we had in May with some of our colleagues after attending the magical Iftar event in April. We had some open and powerful discussions on how important Diwali is to us individually and what it would mean to us to host such an auspicious event. The vision was there - “The Festival of Lights” - at the Home of Cricket. What a powerful stage that would be to blend our culture, our faith and the sport we love in a truly authentic way. 

Being able to have the opportunity to share this important religious celebration with the cricket family left us feeling a true sense of completeness. Knitting together our two passions, our work and our faith, resulted in an amazing event that we will never forget – full of colour, full of light, full of smiles and happy hearts but most importantly, full of food! The Home of Cricket became the heart of cricket.  

Radio & TV Presenter Anushka Arora, who hosted the event, did an exceptional job and shared her personal excitement at Diwali being celebrated in the Long Room. The night opened with speeches from Richard Thompson (ECB Chair), Kate Miller (Chief Diversity and Communications Officer) & Vikram Banerjee (Director of Strategy, Insights & Business Operations). Their words were beautiful and gave us a sense of the collective feeling of the importance of this moment.  

We have so many highlights from the event – it was a historic night to remember for all. The most amazing thing was that there was a room full of different cultures, faiths and religions bound together in friendship and compassion, reinforcing the idea that differences can be truly beautiful when gathered and celebrated.  

The event had everything we could’ve wished for. Traditional Indian dance performances by Dance N Beats in their colourful costumes followed by a beautiful play explaining the story of Diwali, of Rama & Sita, of good over evil.  The beautiful Arti ritual performed by the priest, offering light to the deities and the sound of the conch elevating the room. The spicy, rich dishes served and the guests in their mix of ethnic and traditional elegant dress as colourful lights illuminated a historic venue. It was some sight to behold.  

Guests were treated to The Story of Diwali, a play performed by Dance N Beats

Diwali in the Long Room wouldn’t have been possible without the huge support from the ECB as our employer to allow us a platform to host such an event and the MCC for granting us access to the venue. A special mention to our amazing organising committee who were fully dedicated and passionate about bringing every aspect of this event to fruition, alongside their busy working schedules - for that we are truly grateful.  

The event meant so much to us as practising Hindus, but it was equally important being able to share the celebrations with friends and colleagues from the Sikh and Jain faiths who also recognise Diwali and the Festival of Lights. We were able to bring our whole, authentic selves to work. We felt like we were at home. It showcases the power of cricket and how it can connect communities through celebration and education. 

Here's to many more iconic moments on and off the pitch at the ECB.  

Celebrating light, hope & goodness around the world. Wishing everyone a very Happy Diwali and prosperous New Year!  

High Commissioner for India Vikram Doraiswami and his wife take part in the recital of the Aarti prayer