Diwali Festival to light up of Invercargill's ILT Stadium Southland

Diwali Festival to light up of Invercargill's ILT Stadium Southland
Himani Mishra Galbraith, director of the Diwali Festival Committee, prepares for Invercargill's first official Diwali celebration on Saturday at ILT Stadium Southland.

Robyn Edie / stuff

Himani Mishra Galbraith, director of the Diwali Festival Committee, prepares for Invercargill's first official Diwali celebration on Saturday at ILT Stadium Southland.

In the spirit of cleansing the soul and house for the new season, the Diwali Festival will provide the southerners with a true experience of Indian culture.

The festival features everything Indian with food stalls, music, lights and colors, while Kapa Haka, rock & roll dancers and other New Zealand cultures invite you to the festivities.

Southland Indian president Ranna Joshi said that New Zealand is a very multicultural country. It is therefore urgent to celebrate with Southland's first official Diwali Festival.

"Invercargill was pretty far back, but the community is growing, we thought it was a good time to share our culture."

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The organization expects around 2,000 people to attend the event, which will be held on Saturday at ILT Stadium Southland.

Committee Director Himani Mishra Galbraith said that in all 29 states of India, different dialects were spoken and different religions were celebrated and that everyone came together to celebrate the festival.

"The whole idea is to celebrate the diversity of the regions that we have, there are many different cultures."

Galbraith said the Diwali sensation is a sensory overload with aromas, sounds, colors and smells that cleanse the soul.

It was important to share these cultural events and traditions with the people in their new home, and to teach people about the culture, but also to preserve the tradition.

"We've been integrated for a long time, but maintaining our identity and traditions is important."

While the festival would not accommodate food and culture from any state, Galbraith said they had really tried to showcase as much culture as possible.

She and her team hoped the New Zealanders would "become part of our lives while we became part of the kiwi life."

"It's good to share that with kiwis."

The festival was supported by the ILT Foundation, Community Trust South and many others.

Galbraith said it would have been just a dream for her community if the community had not supported her.

Adrick John, member of the festival committee, said it was the perfect way to share the growing Indian culture in New Zealand, even to help some Indian-born kiwis learn more about their culture.

"We want to attract the children of the Indians who were born here and who do not know much about our culture and we want them to connect with our community."

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