Seven Hamilton community groups have come together to showcase Indian dance, music and other traditions for the Diwali festival of lights at Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato on Sunday, October 27.

Celebrated by millions of Hindus, and many others across the world, Diwali coincides with the Hindu New Year, celebrating new beginnings and the triumph of light over darkness.

This year the day also coincides with Labour Weekend.

Waikato Museum director Cherie Meecham says: "This is the first time Waikato Museum will host Hamilton's Indian community for Diwali, and we're looking forward to sharing in this colourful festival."

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"The activities on offer provide a great opportunity to learn about Diwali, so we invite Hamiltonians of all backgrounds to come to Waikato Museum to experience for themselves the spectacle and story behind the celebration of Diwali."

Rangoli patterns are created on the floor or the ground using coloured powder, sand or flower petals. Photo / File
Rangoli patterns are created on the floor or the ground using coloured powder, sand or flower petals. Photo / File

The origins of Diwali is as a Hindu religious festival celebrating the god Rama's homecoming to the kingdom of Ayodhya after a 14-year exile.

Diwali celebrates his return. The glow of the diya (clay oil lamps) guiding and welcoming him back and is at the centre of Diwali

Houses are cleaned and decorated and people dress in their best clothes and share food and sweets.

A spokesperson for one of the festival organising groups, Hamilton Diwali Mela, Suman Kapoor, says: "This is our 10th year celebration and we're delighted to be working with Waikato Museum to share Diwali on the day itself with the wider Hamilton community."

Indian sweets are shared for a real taste of Diwali. Photo / File
Indian sweets are shared for a real taste of Diwali. Photo / File

The Diwali event at Waikato Museum is free, starting at 11am on Sunday with performances of Bharathanatiyam and other traditional Indian dances running until 1pm, followed by a range of interactive activities, including crafts and storytelling, running until 3pm.

Museum visitors can join in drawing and colouring a rangoli (floor design), learn about henna (hand tattoo) and bindi (forehead mark) designs, and create a diya (lamp) to take home to welcome goodwill to the family.

Visitors to Waikato Museum's Diwali celebrations can learn about henna (hand tattoo). Photo / File
Visitors to Waikato Museum's Diwali celebrations can learn about henna (hand tattoo). Photo / File

Seven Indian organisations have joined with Waikato Museum to celebrate Diwali and share their cultural traditions with the wider Hamilton community.

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They are: Hamilton Diwali Mela, Desi Rhythms by Shai, Kirikiriroa Multicultural Council Inc, India NZ Global, Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan, GOPIO (Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin), and Hamilton Hindi School.