Diwali Festival comes to Docklands in October
Diwali Festival, the Indian spiritual celebration of family and culture, will take over Ron Barassi Snr Park in Docklands on Saturday, October 29.
Following the hugely successful Holi Festival held in Docklands in March, which saw more than 1300 people flock to Ron Barassi Snr Park to celebrate the Hindu “Festival of Colour”, Diwali is expected to draw similar energy to the precinct this month.
The word Diwali translates as “row of lighted lamps” and is a time to recite prayers, share gifts and sweets, help the needy and decorate homes with candles and colourful lights. The festival is observed by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains who celebrate new beginnings, the triumph of light over darkness and good over evil.
Local charity SarasCare, which supported the Holi event led by Docklands Neighbourhood House in March, is now the lead organisation bringing Diwali to Docklands and its managing director Gautam Gupta said locals could expect a celebration like no other.
“Diwali has been celebrated for thousands of years and is a key family, cultural and spiritual event across India, Sri Lanka and Nepal,” Mr Gupta told Docklands News.
“We have designed a unique series of community activities for this first Diwali that will cater for families and those who want to be part of a more authentic and spiritual Diwali experience.”
Running from 1pm to 9pm, Diwali@Docklands will bring together Arti (prayer), Darshan (visual experience), Bathukamma (flower festival), Mehndi (dye tradition), song, dance, and Sattvic temple food to deliver all the tastes, sights and sounds of what’s traditionally a five-day festival of Indian subcontinent into a single-day experience.
Mr Gupta said SarasCare was seeking to create a “more giving-based” event” which was “safe for families and allows a deeper connection to all of the traditions of Diwali from the west, east, north and south of India”.
“Past Diwali events in Australia have tended to focus on a more commercial type of experience with non-traditional commercial pop music, non-vegetarian food, easy access to alcohol and large crowds to maximise profits,” Mr Gupta said.
“The Diwali event at Ron Barassi Snr Park will feature a range of activities throughout the day that are designed to allow a two-way spiritual and cultural participation for both those longing for the traditions of ‘Diwali back home’ and for those in the broader community who want to learn and experience something new.”
Cultural performances, activities and workshops on the day will include …
- Bathukamma – a mass dance event.
- A pop-up Temple experience to allow Arti and Dashan.
- Workshops in traditional arts and cultural activities.
- Painting workshops for kids.
- Mehndi workshops for all.
- Community performances of drumming, music and dance.
- One hundred per cent vegetarian Sattvic food prepared by volunteers from two Melbourne Hindu Mandirs.
- Small gifts of Lego and painting kits for children.
- FREE clothing donated from major brands for those on Commonwealth concession cards.
Mr Gupta said Diwali@Docklands had been made possible by the generous support of sponsors, donors and volunteers, and hoped it could become an annual fixture for the ever-evolving Docklands community.
“Our local partners, traders and residents in particular have got behind this new local event and spread the word. We are grateful that the City of Melbourne and Development Victoria supplied $7500 to the Docklands Neighbourhood House for this event,” he said.
“We also would like to thank the Indian businesses who have generously funded in-kind support for gifts, food and performances.”
“We know that COVID-19 and lockdowns have impacted the Docklands businesses more than most Melbourne locations. So, we see a community-based weekend event like this can attract locals and others to the area and help activate Docklands.”
“The colour, fun and joy of Diwali will be an experience that has to be felt in person to be fully appreciated. Ultimately, we see the success of this event will be measured by the sense of community and the cross-cultural connections that we build in Docklands before, during and after the event.”
“The most important request we have for the Docklands community is to come along on Sunday, October 29 and join with us to celebrate the sheer joy, giving and happiness of Diwali.” •
For more information: docklands.community