Festive light switch on

Over 350 residents from across the borough celebrated the start of the holiday season with the annual festive light switch-on at Hackney Town Hall this weekend.

Ahead of the event the square was lit up by handmade lanterns, created by local families and older residents at workshops led by artist Emily Tracy.

At sunset Rabbi Roni Tabik was joined by Simon Marks School choir to celebrate the Jewish festival of Hanukkah, lighting the Menorah (a nine branched candelabrum), singing traditional songs, and enjoying some special Hanukkah donuts.

It’s the first time Hackney Council has celebrated Hanukkah, with a custom made menorah, this is now set to be an annual tradition.

To keep the crowd entertained throughout the evening, steel pan band Panatonic, played pop hits as well as festive favorites. There was also sing-a-long with Hackney Music Service’s Junior Choir, where the whole crowd joined in to sing ‘Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer’.

The Hackney Community Choir performed a choice selection of carols before the Christmas lights switch-on, Speaker of Hackney, Cllr Clare Potter, was joined by characters from the Hackney Empire panto, ‘Aladdin’ to switch-on the lights and launch the countdown to Christmas in a borough full of entertainment and activities across its town centres and markets.

For the spectacular event finale, local carnival group Tropical Isles, danced around a giant puppet swan, which along with the costumes was decorated with hundreds of lights.

Cllr Clare Potter, Speaker of Hackney
It was fantastic to join with so many Hackney residents to celebrate the start of the festive season with the annual lights switch-on. This is the first year we are celebrating Hanukkah, and it was great to have Simon Marks school choir come and sing some traditional songs. I would encourage all residents to come and visit Hackney Town Hall Square to see the Menorah and Christmas tree, and come together and celebrate the festive season.
Cllr Clare Potter, Speaker of Hackney

In this month’s free Hackney Today paper, are a collection of other festive-themed events taking place across the borough such as a charity film screening at the Rio, late-night shopping at Chatsworth Road Market, and special visits from Father Christmas.