Life at UCB through the eyes of our student bloggers

Autumn Festivals of Lights

Autumn Festivals of Lights

The autumn season is well under way, and I absolutely love it. Cosy clothes, delicious hot food, carving pumpkins, keeping warm by a bonfire, chocolate apples, sparklers, fluffy socks and pretty fireworks lighting up the sky are some of the reasons why autumn is awesome. Along with Halloween, there are two events on the calendar, which makes autumn that little bit more special.

Bonfire Night 

Remember remember the 5th November, gun powder, treason and plot. I see no reason, why gunpowder treason. Should ever be forgot”

Every year on November 5th (and over the weekends before/after) Great Britain traditionally celebrate the failed attempt of a guy named Guy Fawkes, who plotted to kill the former King of England, James I, way back in the day in 1605. Lots of events are held to celebrate all over the UK, in local parks, as well as in gardens with family and friends. Huge bonfires are built and lit, with a makeshift Guy Fawkes doll, sitting on the top. Along with the bonfire, pretty fireworks fill the sky and there’s often food and drink stalls, not to mention the sparklers and toffee or chocolate apples that get us all excited!

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Here is where I’d recommend heading to the firework festivities in Birmingham:

  • The Vale Park- Edgbaston. Free entry, starting at 7pm: Organised by University of Birmingham’s Guild of Students, this is a free entry event, available to everyone, not just students. There’s also a fun fair, entertainment and lots of fireworks!

  • Edgbaston Stadium- Sponsored by Capital FM: Huge fireworks display, as well as a funfair and music. Tickets are available to buy online, costing £5 for students purchased in advance, or £8 on the door.

  • There are lots of “free” places to enjoy the watching the fireworks, if you aren’t planning on going to an event or party. There’s nothing wrong with getting together with friends, or loved ones, filling up a flask of hot choolocate and marshmallows, then heading over to the Birmingham Library or Lickey Hills, to get great views of the fireworks overlooking the city!  

  • Comfort of your own room: Cosy option, and probably less noise.


I feel extremely privileged to be living and studying in Birmingham, where I have the opportunity to absorb and learn about the different cultures that make up our society. Not to mention the abundance of festivals and events that happen throughout the year, which are incredible and important from a cultural perspective.

Coinciding with Bonfire Night, Diwali, often referred to as ‘the festival of lights’, is also celebrated during mid-October to mid-November, and together both these events make Autumn light up spectacularly. This year the festival falls on November 11th.

Diwali is one of the biggest Hindu festivals, celebrated throughout India, Nepal, Sri-Lanka, the UK and lots of other countries around the world! Diwali symbolises the good triumphing over evil, and light over dark, for five days, and signifies the start of a new business year. Traditional Indian sweets and food are bought and shared as gifts, festive meals are prepared, and huge firework displays that light up the sky. One of my friends who celebrates Diwali told me how the festival is about family, happiness, food, and fun! This year, Birmingham has a few events celebrating Diwali, which if you are interested, are worth checking out as they are open for everyone!

Soho Road- Diwali outdoor celebration. November 1st, 12.30pm 

The Soho Road Business Improvement District, have organised a free outdoor event this coming Sunday. The will be lots of stalls selling incurable vegetarian dishes, non alcoholic drinks and live entertainment! If your not doing anything, it looks like it’s going to be a great afternoon!

Getting there: Soho Road is around 10-15 minutes outside the city centre and is easily reached by public transport .

Buses: #74, #75 both go to Soho Road, you can also take the #16 to Soho Hill, and from there walk the short distance to Soho Road.

Metro: Take the metro from Birmingham Snow Hill, to Soho Benson Road, from there it’s less than a five minute walk.

The New Bingley Hall, in Hockley (right by the city centre), are also hosting Diwali celebrations this year, with Birmingham City Council, and the Hindu Council of Birmingham. The event takes place on Sunday 8th November from 12pm- 6.45pm!

Of course I want to stress how important safety is regarding fireworks and bonfire night, because they can be dangerous. I read an article on the Birmingham Mail this week, about checking for animals (especially hedgehogs) around bonfires, so if you get the chance give it a read.

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On a final note, hope you all have a happy and spooky Halloween! I’m sticking with my tradition of pumpkin carving, and watching Hocus Pocus, tweet me what you’ve got planned?

D x

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