An ancient Hindu festival will get a new lease of life in Parramatta this weekend.
Now in 19th year, Hindu Council of Australia has expanded its Deepavali Festival to two days for the first time.
Parramatta Park’s Cattle Paddocks will be transformed into a multicultural hub of Indian food and market stalls, henna tattoo makers, amusement rides, a photo booth, free face painting and roving performances.
“We’ll have a spectrum of different activities which are the essence of India,” Hindu Council of Australia secretary Sanjeev Bhakri said.
“Food is a very special part of Deepavali so we’ll have 22 stalls with savory and sweet dishes for people to sample everything. Deepavali is the biggest time of the year for Indians living in Australia. For everyone else, it’s an opportunity to soak in the different flavours.”
Also known as Diwali and the festival of light, the religious festival celebrates the victory of light over darkness.
“Parramatta is the epicentre of Sydney and with many Indians living in western Sydney, it’s an opportunity for us to give back to the community,” Mr Bhakri said.
Saturday’s highlights include Ramayan, a Hindu epic tale that uses costumes, dance and music to depict the struggle of Prince Rama to rescue his wife from the demon king Ravana, which starts at 6pm, followed by The Garba, a community dance troupe which encourages everybody to join in.
On Sunday, there’s Australia’s biggest Bollywood dance competition with $1000 in prizemoney up for grabs, chef of the year and Rangoli art competitions, fireworks and the burning of a 40 foot Ravana effigy. New to the event is the Band Baja Bride celebration of marriages from different cultures. It includes a fashion parade with bride and groom couples.
“Saturday is more for the performances while the Sunday is all about the community,” Mr Bhakri said.
- Festivities are from 3pm Saturday, 11am on Sunday. Entry is $6, under-12s free. Details: deepavali.com.au.