Curious about Diwali?

If you have ever seen pictures of Diwali celebrations, you would notice they are full of bright colours and lights, the smell of incense, contrasting colourful fabrics, combining traditional culture with modern music and fun.

Family and friends are brought together by culture to share in festivities and to create new memories with their loved ones.

Diwali, which is also known as Deepavali, translates in Sanskrit to mean a row of lights.

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Diwali symbolises the spiritual "victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance". Light is a metaphor for all that is positive and good.

Diwali is celebrated worldwide with temples, shops and homes all brightly illuminated with lights, Diyas (a small lamp lit especially at Diwali) and decorated with Rangoli - an art form originating in India where patterns are created on the ground using coloured rice, dry flour, coloured sand or flower petals.

The Bay of Plenty (Rotorua) Indian Association in conjunction with the Rotorua Lakes Council is bringing a public Diwali festival for Rotorua.

Held on Saturday, November 23 this event is open to all and will be free.

There will be food, dance performances and colour.

The public Diwali celebration will be held at Te Manawa down to Pukuatua St, encompassing the area of the Rotorua Night Market, starting at 4pm.

Shash Patel, association president, says that celebrating Diwali is easy.

"Just take everything that is great in life, great food, great company and a gigantic helping of gratitude and that's how simple it is.

"At Diwali it is impossible to be grumpy, so why wouldn't everybody want to embrace Diwali."

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This year there will also be a Diwali Night Bike Ride which is on Saturday October 26 beginning at 7.30pm down at the Lakefront.

It is part of the Rotorua Bike Festival and more information is available at www.rotoruabikefestival.com

The Rotorua Indian Association celebrates Diwali with a closed private function for all its members.

The day starts with the mass cooking of all the food that will be shared in the evening.

Members, their families and invited dignitaries partake in a meal and are treated to a live creative cultural show organised by the local Indian community.

Children and adults perform and share their talents with the audience.

The association describes the mood around Diwali as joyous and exciting, with communities coming together to share in food and good times.

Friends and family buy gifts for each other, especially new clothes, and relish making Indian sweets.

Diwali is also a time for spring cleaning.

For more information email bopindian@gmail.com

Details:
■What: Public Diwali Festival celebration
■When: Saturday 23 November, from 4pm
■Where: Site of the Thursday Night Market
■Cost: Free
■For more information: email bopindian@gmail.com