DIWALI FESTIVAL: Robbin and Swati Sebastian performing their dance, Radhe kaise na jale. Photo: Sara Hollyman.

Diwali overflows with colour

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The Nelson Centre of Music and Arts was bursting at the seams for this year’s Diwali Festival.

The Hindu community gathered together in a flamboyant evening of music, dance and colour on Sunday to celebrate the annual festival of lights.

The traditional festival symbolises the triumph of light over dark, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance. Hanuman, who along with his wife Prema, had a hand in organising this year’s festival says it is traditionally celebrated in a variety of ways in different parts of the world.

He says that, previously, the festival had been celebrated at NMIT but they hadn’t heard about anything being organised this year, so decided to take it on themselves.

“We’re really into creating more community. Punjabi, Indian, Fijian Indian and Kiwis, among others, all came together and that’s what it’s about – really bringing everyone together.”

Hanuman thought about 20 people were asked to wait until others left the venue, as it was full.

The evening offered an array of both Indian and Nepali dance performances with both traditional and fusion mantra music followed by a traditional meal.

Susan Vather arrived at the festival around 6.30pm with her family, but they were turned away.

“We came and were told the NCMA was at full capacity and they couldn’t let anyone else in.”

She hoped that next year they chose a bigger venue or a different location.

Hanuman says they will definitely look at a larger space next year but says they would like to continue to support NCMA.

“We might look at using the auditorium, but we will definitely need a larger space than this year, especially if we advertise it, which we didn’t really do this year.”