Diwali Oct 2011 – Sandown Park, Melbourne

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Not even the bright fantastic lights with the intricate arrangement of a thousand candles could contest Melbourne’s unstable weather that saw my pilgrimage to celebrate Diwali at Federation Square cut momentarily short. It was reported that the heavy rains did distort the celebration of the Festival of Lights at Federation Square on Saturday.

Diwali, the festival of lights is one of those unique cultural celebrations that is not simply relegated to a central city but is carried in the hearts and minds of citizens spread throughout the land.  

So, yesterday I went to experience the celebrations at Sandown Park on a bright and sunny Sunday afternoon.  The Premier in his address to the over ten
thousand crowd said of Saturday’s festivity of Light at Federation Square which
he attended, ‘was more a festival of rain’.

Sandown Park began to buzz with activity from around mid afternoon.  The women and children were colourfully clad in exotic Indian clothes and jewelry.  There was nothing lacking in terms of what looked like a great Diwali festival for both the kids and adults.

This was my first experience of Diwali at the Sandown Park racecourse.
It is an excellent venue for such a festival, to be rounded off with fireworks at the end of the day.  The added bonus is a low $5.00 entry fee and
plenty of free parking. Unfortunately, there are no gate passes which posed a problem for me. I did not want to walk around the venue with the things I bought at the stalls and take a few photos at the same time.  One of the stalls, Pattu, offered to keep the stuff we purchased till we were ready to leave. A rubber stamping on the hands would have been more than sufficient to regain entry with the purchased ticket.

On Stage, there was plenty of nonstop singing and Indian dancing that ended with an East meets West fashion show. The one that got the biggest round of applause was a display by the models, of various Indian traditions in marriages, such as tying a thali round the neck, kicking a pot over, walking round the fire, stepping on a plate, applying a tikka on the forehead and carrying a bride over the threshold.

The Regional, Classic and Bollywood dances were of a very
high standard. It was good to see a sprinkling of our Aussie girls, on stage
with the best of the Indian dancers, dancing in unison without skipping a beat,
a facial expression or movement of hand and feet! Well done.

As with all Indian festivals, food plays an important part in the festivities with preparations uniquely distinct and different to each Sate in India. It was an occasion to sample them all!

As the evening wore on, the Premier of Victoria Ted Bailleu, Opposition leader Daniel Andrews, and the Mayor for Dandenong Roz Blades arrived to grace the occasion and reiterate their support for multiculturalism, in Victoria.

Here are a few photos of the event and in the photo below among the dignitaries who attended, are the Premier of Victoria, Ted Bailleu, Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews, Mayor Roz Blades and the Consul General for India, in Melbourne.

More photos at http://kevin-peterson.net/?page_id=12068 IMG_9317 IMG_9186 IMG_9224 IMG_9330 IMG_9389 IMG_9405 IMG_9685

 

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More photos at http://kevin-peterson.net/?page_id=12068

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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