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Diwali in Melbourne: Indian community celebrates

“It’s shocking, it’s very sad to hear sad news of families going on a holiday and being killed,” Vasa said. “The community has a lot of questions.”

While the sorrow of last week’s tragedy was apparent, the event proceeded to uplift the spirits of the community through traditional dance and song.

The Oznatyam Dance Group from Wyndham Vale dancing at the Diwali festival in Presidents Park.Credit: Penny Stephens

Vasa, who performed classical Indian music, said the music brought people together.

“Music and dance always bring together, that’s the strongest part of India,” Vasa said.

Members of the South Indian Mastani dance group from Glen Waverley performed a medley of south Indian dances, incorporating five languages into their routine including Hindi, Kannada, Tamil, Malayalam and Telugu.

Dancers Lakshmi Esarapu, Sahana Rudrappa and Sahlini Mendu – all IT professionals – said they enjoyed performing for the crowd on what is India’s biggest holiday festival, celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Buddhists and Sikhs.

Sahana Rudrappa, Sahlini Mendo and Lakshmi Esarapu from the Mastani Dance Group from Glen Waverley preparing for their performance backstage at the Wyndham Diwali festival.

Sahana Rudrappa, Sahlini Mendo and Lakshmi Esarapu from the Mastani Dance Group from Glen Waverley preparing for their performance backstage at the Wyndham Diwali festival.Credit: Penny Stephens

“We are very busy mothers,” Mendu said. “Dance is part of a culture and it feels nice representing a part of our culture.”

The dancers, who moved to Australia about a decade ago, said it was a joy to see the wider community taking an interest in what the festival meant to the Indian community.

“Diwali is getting bigger in Australia. I explain it like, ‘You celebrate Christmas, we celebrate Diwali’,” Mendu said.

Another dancer, 10-year-old Sahasra Chayanam, travelled from Ballarat with her family to perform her first solo dance.

“When I performed, everybody came to the front to watch me, it felt good,” she said.

Sahasra Chayanam, 10, from Ballarat, performing at the Wyndham Diwali festival.

Sahasra Chayanam, 10, from Ballarat, performing at the Wyndham Diwali festival. Credit: Penny Stephens

Her mother, Sudha Purnima, who is Hindu, said Diwali was an important time to worship Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth and good fortune.

“On Diwali we invite all the happiness and for all the happiness most of the time we need money,” Purnima said.

For young children, the day was made all the better with rides, henna tattoos, sweets and carnival games.

Rajbeer Kaur, one of the organisers of the event, said the event was also celebrating its 10-year anniversary and was being live-streamed to viewers in India.

“We want people back in India to see what we are doing all the way in Australia,” Kaur said.

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https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/victoria/we-invite-all-the-happiness-melbourne-s-indian-community-celebrates-diwali-20231111-p5ej8f.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_national Diwali in Melbourne: Indian community celebrates

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