A toast to multiculturalism

A toast to multiculturalism

By-Nidhi Kumari

It was music, dance, films and flavours in the air when Parramasala 2015, celebrating cultures and diversity kicked off in October. The grand event began on 23rd October, 2015 and continued till 25th October, 2015 coating the atmosphere with jubilance. With people participating in huge numbers at the heart of Australia, Sydney, the whole environment looked like a cultural rainbow.

The inaugural India Tourism Week was presented at Parramasala exhibiting the India Tourism Pavillion having performer workshops and a Chai Tea Stall –where the audience could meet the artist, learn and understand their cultures, traditions and find out more about them.

paramshala2Expressing his happiness on the success of the three day gala event, Vibhava Tripathi, Assistant Director, India tourism, Sydney, said, “During the three days of Parramasala, you could feel an Indian atmosphere in the air with Indian culture, heritage, food, handicraft on showcase. A big India Pavilion was set up for the festival which depicted the essence of India with replica of Taj Mahal in the centre and statue of Lord Buddha on front. The entire pavilion was bustling with cultural events, meet and chat the artists.”

Speaking of India Tourism Week, Suman Bill, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India remarked, “For the first time in India, tourism has become centre stage, and Tourism India Week has taken our relationship with Australia to the next level”.

Around 36 cultures and nationalities came together for the celebration. People grooved to the tunes of “Mida Wawasi (Welcome)” on the Friday Night Opening Street Parade in Parramatta.

The second day began with a relaxed and eased yoga session followed by a breakfast at Morning Masala Markets. A perfect start for a perfect day!

The Saturday night had the ladies taking over the stage for Masala Divas at Parramatta with performers including Baby et Lulu and Sirens Big Band. Curry Puff Daddy’s hip-hop heat set the stage at Harris Park on fire with people swinging and tapping their feet to the musical beats.

The last day of the celebration was about Masala markets, cooking demonstrations, learning about spice gardens, watching rice art take shape.

The other highlights of the festival were the South Asian cinema at Cinema Thali in Raffertys Theatre, from India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, New Zealand and Australia which was like a cherry on the entire celebration.

The photography exhibition Adorned in Riverside Theatres featured photographs by Liam Benson in partnership with Parramatta Artist Studios and the WeAve Project along with active participation of women involved in workshops was a great sight.

Parramasala has spread its wings wide and it is only expanding. Di Henry, the festival director, expressing her admiration of Parramasala said, “During the Festival, I overheard a father telling his son that this was an Indian Festival and later that day another group talking about how great it was to see other nationalities involved. Yes, Parramasala started as an Indian Festival and then evolved into a South Asian Festival and now many other nationalities want to be included as Western Sydney is their home too but at its core Parramasala is Indian – the key is in the name but as Parramatta and Western Sydney evolve so does its largest Festival to both represent its citizens; what they have to offer and what they want to see and do.”

Photo Credit:  Ali Mousawi

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