For the second year, the iconic Sydney Opera House was awash with Diwali colours to celebrate the Festival of Lights.
With spiritual significance for Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains, those across north and south India, the festival has taken on global significance with the spread of the Indian diaspora.
Emblematic of multicultural and multifaith society, the gesture involving this Australian landmark acknowledges the strong contribution the Indian community makes to their adopted homeland.
“This is the second year of lighting the Opera House for Diwali and we are very excited!” said NSW Premier Mike Baird on the occasion.
“As we continue to build the relationship between India and Australia, through New South Wales, our bonds get stronger and stronger – not only through trade, but through culture and through the many Indians who call this state home.”
NSW Premier Mike Baird was joined by Minister for Multiculturalism John Ajaka, along with outgoing Consul General of India in Sydney Sunjay Sudhir, Chair of Multicultural NSW Dr Hari Harinath and Geoff Lee, MP for Parramatta as they counted down.
Three, two, one… and the sails of the Opera House were transformed – glowing a vibrant, golden orange and yellow.
“What a wonderful occasion,” said Minister Ajaka. “We get to light the Opera House as recognition of the great relationship that the government and people of New South Wales have with the Indian community.”
The festival of Diwali has been embraced by Australians as a celebration of our cultural and religious diversity.
In New South Wales, more than 200,000 people are of Indian or South Asian heritage.
“We have the most multicultural state, not only in Australia, but in the world,” Minister Ajaka said.
“May we continue to work, live and enjoy each other’s friendship as a community and as a family.”
Just days after the lighting of the Opera House for Diwali, to mark the triumph of good over evil, the Australian icon was again illuminated in a spirit of solidarity, this time in the colours of the French flag.
Following horrific terror attacks, the Opera House shone blue, white and red in tribute to the victims, joining prominent buildings around the world in a show of global unity.