Bursts of colour to celebrate Indian Holi Festival

Brendan Rees

A sea of colour is set to descend in Docklands as the community prepares to celebrate the Indian festival, Holi, for the first time.

Hosted by the Docklands Neighbourhood House at Ron Barassi Senior Park, the March 19 event will feature a range of family-friendly activities including dancing, traditional and modern live music, food trucks, a DJ, dhol drumming, Bollywood dancing and more.

Part of the event will also see festivalgoers dance the day away while getting covered in brightly-coloured powder.

Jason Butcher, community development officer of the Docklands Neighbourhood House, said everyone was welcome to attend the day which runs from 1pm to 6pm.

“The traditions of Holi, of love and sharing between family, loved ones, and community, make it a perfect occasion to bring Docklands together in celebration,” he said.

 

Docklands Neighbourhood House invites all local residents, whether from an Indian background or not, to participate in the free lead-up activities and join the celebrations on the day.

 

Holi is one of the biggest and most colourful Indian festivals, where the colours of Holi spread the message of love and peace.

The event comes after the “Docklands Comes Together” project, which will deliver a range of activities for the Docklands community in 2022, received a $20,000 Connect Communities grant from the City of Melbourne – which will also go towards the Holi festival.

The project was formed by “The Centre: Connecting Community in North & West Melbourne” – of which the Docklands Neighbourhood House is also a project.

Ariel Valent, director of The Centre, said, “Docklands Neighbourhood House appreciates the support of City of Melbourne. The council helped us set up as a pop-up from late 2019 and continue to support our work with the community of Docklands.”

“Incredibly there has never been a Holi Festival in Docklands, despite the large Hindi population.”

Mr Valent said the Docklands Come Together aims to build bonding networks for Docklands residents of Indian background by working together to create “meaningful expressions and celebrations of their culture of origin within their own neighbourhood.”

The project also provided a “repair café” through which residents can extend the lifespan of various goods.

“It has been a difficult couple of years to get something new established, but we are looking forward to the rest of 2022 with a great sense of optimism,” Mr Valent said.

“Our purpose is to bring people together, foster a sense of belonging and celebrate the local community.”

“We do this by encouraging participation in social, educational and wellbeing programs, creating volunteering opportunities and by creating welcoming spaces to connect and learn.”

“We simply couldn’t do this without the support of our funding partners and the local community.”

Docklands Come Together will also host the Diwali festival in October – with the Holi being supported by the City of Melbourne, VIctorian Multicultural Commission, Sarascare and the YMCA Hub.

Meanwhile, Mr Butcher said, “The way we work is all about community involvement, so if anyone has any thoughts how we can make the Docklands community even better, we would love to chat.” •

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