Hindu Council’s massive Deepavali festival celebrations at Bella Vista Farms, Sydney

By: Gayatri Nair.

Hindu Council’s massive Deepavali festival celebrations at Bella Vista Farms, Sydney

Late American Composer John Milton Cage had once said, “We carry our homes within us which enables us to fly”; a sentiment that succinctly encapsulates the immigrant experience worldwide. For we carry within us a home not built of bricks and stones but values, traditions and our culture, empowering us to set new roots and prosper in lands far away.

However, some days the call from our homeland is too strong for our hearts to ignore; especially during festivals. Occasions like Deepavali acutely remind us how far some of us are from our country. The smell of smoky diyas, enticing sounds of late evening aartis, and glorious fireworks are terribly missed, and suddenly the gap between our memories and immediate surroundings becomes wider.

It is this gap that Hindu Council of Australia has been trying to bridge since its inception in 1998 through various initiatives including their mega Deepavali festival.

On most days, Bella Vista Farms located on Elizabeth MacArthur Drive, Sydney looks like a typical suburban Australian farm complete with farm animals. But on October 20, it took on an Indian hue. The farm was the venue for Hindu Council’s 21st Deepavali celebrations, which was a sight to behold. The gala comprised various activities, including colourful Rangolis, dance competitions, lip-smacking food, and massive fireworks, among others.

As one entered the venue, smells of familiar and much love Indian food wafted in- pav bhaji, various mouth-watering chaats, dabeli, pani puri, South Indian filter coffee, and even Mango Lassi! Though there were many other stalls – those selling sarees, bags with intricate designs, and paintings – it were the food stalls that got everyone excited!

Attendees were not only treated to food and goodies, but also some amazing dance performances. Talented dancers displaying an array of genres – contemporary, Bollywood, and traditional- entertained everyone. A special performance by a Burmese dance group enthralled the audience with their use of traditional garb and folk music.

The festival was graced by numerous dignitaries including MP Jodi McKay NSW Labor Leader and Member for Strathfield, and State Member for Granville and former Lord Mayor Julia Finn, both of whom dazzled in beautiful Kanchipuram sarees. The loudest cheers, however, were reserved for Julian Leeser, Member for Berowra, whose flawless speech in Hindi took everyone in the audience by surprise.

By nightfall, Bella Vista Farm had morphed into a vibrant festive hub – reminiscent of Deepavali celebrations back in India. Hordes of Indian-Australians, dressed in their finest, came together to observe the festival of lights.

The night concluded with Ravan Dahan (burning of Ravan’s effigy) and a fabulous display of fireworks; a true manifestation of Deepavali’s message – the ultimate triumph of good over evil, light over darkness.

The smells, tastes, sounds and colours of Bella Vista Farms on October 20 transported some of us, for a brief period, back to India; a home that we carry in our hearts even as we fly far and wide.

Wish you all a very happy Deepavali. Hope the light of the festival kills the darkness that exists both outside and within us.

Diwali celebration by Hindu Council of Australia

Glimpses of Diwali event at Bella Vista Sydney, organized by Hindu Council Australia.

Posted by SBS Hindi on Wednesday, 23 October 2019