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For the fourth year running, Hindu Council of Australia hosted its pre Diwali celebrations, the Deepavali Mela at Martin Place
For the fourth year running, Hindu Council of Australia hosted its pre Diwali celebrations, the Deepavali Mela at Martin Place. The event on 15 October saw hordes of office workers and professionals take time out of their busy work days to drop by and experience a peek into the colour and magic of the festival of lights.
Over the years, the question for many non-Indian Australians has changed from “What’s Diwali?” to “How can we take part in the celebrations?”
The Hindu Council provides this ‘taster’ event as a precursor to the main Deepavali Mela, this year to be held on Sunday 8 November at Parramatta Park.
With the lunchtime crowd buzzing, restaurant stalls selling delicious Indian fare, such as aromatic samosa chaat and sweet, sticky jalebi, did a roaring trade.
A towering Ravan effigy stood guard over Martin Place plaza as enthusiastic members of the crowd waited to have intricate mehendi patterns painted onto their hands, while others played dress-ups with traditional Indian sarees, kurtas and turbans at the photobooth.
On the main stage, proceedings began with the Australian and Indian national anthems performed by students from North Parramatta Public School. Hindu Council of Australia Chairman Nihal Agar was then joined on stage by special guests including former Australian cricketing great Brett Lee and Bollywood actress Tannishtha Chatterjee for the ceremonial lighting of the diya.
Smiling and proud children in gorgeous traditional costumes performed classical, folk and Bollywood dances followed by live singing routines. An exciting flash mob had young and old breaking out into dance amongst the crowd who happily clapped and cheered along.
Minister for Multiculturalism John Ajaka, Geoff Lee, Member for Parramatta, Matt Kean, Member for Hornsby and Jodi McKay, Member for Strathfield were some of the New South Wales politicians who came down from Parliament on Macquarie Street to join the celebrations, posing for selfies and embracing their tilaks and bindis.
It was an impressive multicultural and inclusive celebration as members of the Jain, Sikh and Buddhist communities were also represented.
A great forerunner to the main event, this year’s Hindu Council Deepavali Mela at Parramatta Park will feature the world-famous Rajasthani Kalbelia group in a spectacular dance performance. There will also be an opportunity for you to see an Indian village hut, immerse yourself in a dedicated spiritual area, participate in an eating competition and take a ride on a ferris wheel. So head to Parramatta, and don’t miss out on the masti!