The Wellington Diwali Festival of Lights 2023 wasn't just another event on the city's calendar; it was a vibrant showcase of the unity, diversity, and cultural wealth of Wellington.
Inaugurated by Her Worship Mayor Tory Whanau, Mayor of Wellington; High Commissioner of India Her Excellency, Neeta Bhushan from the India in New Zealand (High Commission of India, Wellington); Deputy Leader of the National Party Nicola Willis MP; and Chris Bishop, Member for Hutt South from the National Party, the festival's success could be seen in its meticulous planning, flawless execution, and the joyful participation of the attendees.
1. Performances That Captured the Essence of India
From the graceful poise of traditional dances to the energetic beats of Bollywood and Bhangra, the cultural performances were a treat for the eyes and the soul.
Local and regional artists poured their heart into showcasing an array of styles – traditional, contemporary, folk, fusion, and the ever-popular Bollywood and Bhangra. Every performance was a beautiful representation of India's rich tapestry of music and dance.
2. Retail Stalls: A Mini India in Wellington:The festival brought forward 18 retail stalls, offering a slice of India's arts, crafts, fashion, and henna artistry.
Each stall was an avenue for attendees to immerse themselves in the vivid hues and intricate designs synonymous with Indian culture. From stunning pieces of craftsmanship to information stalls, the array of offerings was vast and varied.
3. Full House at TSB Arena:The festival's overwhelming success was palpable at the TSB Arena. From the moment the doors swung open to the time they closed, the atmosphere inside was electric.
The heartbeat of the festival, The Shed 6, was home to 17 bustling food stalls, with the aroma of Indian spices filling the air and enticing the taste buds. It stood testament to Wellingtonians' love for rich, flavourful Indian cuisine, with every stall teeming with patrons right through the day.
4. Fireworks at the Wellington Waterfront:As the day drew to a close, the Wellington waterfront lit up with a dazzling display of fireworks. The skies painted in brilliant hues of red, blue, and gold, the fireworks were the perfect finale to a day filled with color, music, and dance.
5. A Showcase of Wellington's Diversity:Perhaps the most beautiful aspect of the Wellington Diwali Festival was its testament to the city's diversity. Attendees from all walks of life came together to celebrate the Festival of Lights, proving that cultural differences only add richness to our collective experience. In the words of Murali Kumar, organiser of the Wellington Diwali Festival and founder of Communities Action Trust NZ, "The festival was buzzing. With our wider communities of Wellington in attendance, it was a truly diverse representation of our communities, showcasing social inclusion! A proud event for all."
In wrapping up, the Wellington Diwali Festival of Lights 2023 was more than just an event; it was a celebration of community, culture, and togetherness. It beautifully encapsulated the spirit of Diwali – a triumph of light over darkness and a testament to the inclusive spirit of Wellington.