The more we play together…

… the happier we’ll be. Multicultural festival presents mind boggling variety , writes SIMMI SINGH

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Hundreds of people joined in a day of fun and festivity at the 5th annual 2019 Spirit Harmony Multicultural Festival (SMFH) held at the Clayton Community Centre recently. As part of Cultural Diversity Week the event engaged audiences with a range of activities, non-stop performances and promotional stalls.

The variety on offer at the SMFH 2019 Holi Festival of Mind Colours was huge, keeping everyone involved as many cultures came together to celebrate diversity on a common platform.

The family friendly, free event offered a multicultural smorgasbord with performances lined up from Macedonia, Thailand, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, India, Serbia, Spain and other backgrounds.

Positive vibes flew fast with spiritual talks, art workshops, yoga, well-being and meditation sessions kicking off the first half of the day. Dotted around the hall were multiple stalls with plenty to browse through along with interactive activities and select eateries. Psychics and palmists were available for consultation adding to the ‘market’ feel.

The celebrations paused a bit to acknowledge important issues affecting the global community and a minute’s silence was observed in prayers for those who lost their lives in the New Zealand Terror attack on 15 March.  Coinciding with the National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence, Bully Zero’s ambassador Preeti Daga took the opportunity to advocate the Foundation’s vision.

The cultural fusion event was organised by Festival Director Nawal Moudgil under the aegis of SKGA Inc. (Sangam Kala Group Australia) in association with VMC Victorian Multicultural Commission, City of Monash and State Government of Victoria.

“With 150 plus teams of performers, volunteers presenting 12 plus cultures and over 1000 people attending from all, ages, backgrounds and abilities, Victorians were invited to retain and express their social identity and cultural inheritance, through these family-related community and cultural engagements,” said Moudgil.

“During this season, our teams collaborates and celebrated cultural diversity and Holi festivities with many other clubs, groups, schools and other associations,” he continued. “This included popular music, dances, dramas, instrumentals, folk, Bollywood, spiritual and classical presentations representing diverse regions, religions and cultures within Victoria.”

The atmosphere was dynamic as hundreds of participants geared up to give their best on stage. The bulk of the afternoon was taken up with an eclectic mix of cross-cultural entertainment.  Music and dance performances dominated the agenda with Taekwondo demonstrations and Bollywood workshops also on offer for the movers and shakers.

There were regulars from pervious events but many were performing in this event for the first time. For young amateur singers like Ria and her proud parents Bubby and Jatinder Kumar it was an opportunity to showcase her talent to a large audience providing the much-needed encouragement for her talent to flourish.

“This is the whole idea,” said Moudgil enthusiastically. “We want this to be an inclusive event that is open to all and over the years the demand and participation has increased considerably. I have received good feedback for this year’s event but there is always room for improvement. With the support of the community and the backing of multicultural services, local councils and the Victorian Government, we intend to keep going from strength to strength.”