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21 Dec 2016


Rich traditions observed as SydWest and Community Hubs host Diwali cultural exchange

Hope, tolerance and harmony were celebrated at the Diwali 2016 Cultural Exchange.

It featured Bollywood performances, Zumba, a Punjabi dance, craft activities for children, cultural games and a picnic lunch.

Elfa Moraitakis, Chief Executive Officer of SydWest Multicultural Services, launched the event, saying what a great opportunity it was for everyone gathered in the grounds of the school to celebrate Diwali and have the opportunity to learn about the traditions and the norms of the person next to them.

“In our beautiful multicultural Australia, where a lot of people before us fought tooth and nail for harmony and acceptance and where today we see the spark of ridiculous racist outbursts, it is important to keep teaching our kids that this earth is our home and we are all residents, all equals,” she said.

“We’re also carrying rich cultures and traditions and we have so much to learn from each other.”

Sonia Kalsi, Team Leader: Women and Families in the Community Engagement Division of SydWest Multicultural Services, welcomed the families who attended, explaining that Diwali was a festival of lights and sweetness celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains.

The Diwali festival lasted for five days with a festival of lights taking place on the third day, she said.

Each faith had its own beliefs and legends associated with Diwali but all were founded on the celebration of light over darkness, good over evil, truth over falsity.

Families gathered to feast and exchange gifts during Diwali. Houses were decorated with candles and colourful lights.

In many countries large firework displays were held and food and sweets were a major part of the festival. Families shared food together as well as giving to those in need.

“In contemporary society Diwali is a celebration of hope, tolerance and harmony in our community,” Ms Kalsi said.

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