Diwali festival set to light up city

The vibrant colours, sounds and enticing smells of India will be embrace Hamilton next week.

The highlight of Diwali Festival 2012 will be a concert on Tuesday, October 16 at the SkyCity Function Centre.

The concert will feature an evening of spectacular entertainment from Gujarat's Rangashree dance group, supported by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations.

There will also be performances by local groups. The tickets are just $10, and can be bought from major Indian stores or from door sale

The group will also be performing at the Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch Diwali Festivals.

The Diwali Festival of Lights, also known as Deepavali (literally "a row of lamps"), is one of the most important and ancient of the Indian festivals. It is celebrated throughout India as well as in Indian communities around the world.

Event organisers Suman Kapoor, chairperson, women's council Global Organization of People Of Indian Origin, Waikato, and president Pradeep Kumar, say this year's Hamilton Diwali festivities are the most ambitious to date.

"Until the 1980s, over 90 per cent of New Zealand Indians were from Gujarat and most were Hindu," says Suman.

"The picture these days is much more varied. New Zealand is now home to Indians from all over India and from other parts of the world like Fiji, South Africa and the UK.

She says the Diwali Festival is so important and is instrumental in bringing together our Indian communities and enables them to share their many talents with other New Zealanders.

On Saturday, October 20, Garden Place will be taken over by the Diwali fair and bazaar from 11am until 6 pm, with delicious food stalls, henna hand-painting, workshops, Indian fashion, jewellery crafts and more.

On the Saturday evening there will be a free cultural concert by the Waikato Indian Students at Waikato University's Gallagher Academy of the Performing Arts.

Diwali signifies the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil, and renewal of life. It is colloquially known as The Festival of Lights - the time when families light small oil lamps (known as diyas) and candles around the home and set off firecrackers and fireworks.

- Hamilton News

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