The Minister for Multicultural Affairs hosts SA parliament New Year community reception
Called Puthandu in Tamil, Baisakhi in Punjabi, Vishu in Malayalam, Nobo Borsho or Pohela Baishakh in Bangla and Odia, Rongali Bihu or Maithili New Year, 14 or 15 April is celebrated as New Year in many parts of India, and indeed, many parts of the world including Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Laos, Cambodia, Bhutan, Thailand and parts of China.
New arrivals from all regions of Asia to South Australia have grown in the past few years, and from India the number has almost tripled in the past 10 years! With immigrants from Nepal, Bhutan and other countries also growing steadily, the new year has been celebrated by these communities in various ways in Adelaide from large outdoor melas to little community celebrations. Celebrations not only bring people within communities together but also bring various groups together.
It was wonderful to see this acknowledged and celebrated in South Australia’s Parliament House.
The Minister of Multicultural Affairs, Zoe Bettison invited leaders from all these communities to a SA parliament New Year community reception on 28 April and hosted a lovely get-together.
In her welcome, Minister Bettison said that she had attended many different New Year celebrations in April and felt lucky to see how South Australia’s multicultural communities all celebrated in their own special way with unique traditions, festivities and religious ceremonies.
And, she said, “Every single one of them promotes social connection, community cohesion and a sense of togetherness”.
It was a lovely evening, well organised with time for people to wish each other, meet new people and catch up with old friends.
Beginning with a welcome by Dana Wortley, MP for Torrens, there was only one speech and that was by the Minister. Afterwards, Ministers and other parliamentarians spent the evening chatting with their guests and making sure every single guest felt included and special.
It was a very pleasant departure from some functions where the bigwigs come to make a speech, have photos taken, interact for a little while and then leave. The camaraderie among the groups was great, especially when the Minister’s adviser Nyanwell Agoth climbed up on a table to take a large group photo!
Minister Bettison thanked the audience for settling in South Australia and for supporting new arrivals. She said that the services of the community organisations were vital to promoting resilience in new migrants and that they were the “lifeblood sustaining our multicultural communities”.
“Cultural diversity promotes and keeps us connected as South Australians… and highlights our links to every corner of the world and our membership in a global humanity,” she added.
All in all, it was a wonderful feeling, to know that Bisu, what I thought, as a child, is only a family celebration, is celebrated by so many communities in so many different ways in so many parts of the world. To see the occasion acknowledged and celebrated in the highest echelons of my adopted country… Now that really warms my heart!