In an evening filled with light, music, and cultural reverence, Victorian Premier Jacinta Allan hosted a grand state reception to celebrate Diwali, the festival of lights, signifying the victory of light over darkness and good over evil.
The event, a vibrant display of multiculturalism and inclusivity, saw over 1200 attendees from the Hindu, Jain, and Sikh communities gather to partake in the festivities.
The ceremony began with the traditional lighting of the lamp, a symbolic act of inviting positivity and dispelling darkness. Premier Allan was joined in this inaugural act by notable figures including the Multicultural Minister Ingrid Stitt, Deputy Opposition leader David Southwick, Indian Consul General Sushil Kumar, and Hindu Council of Australia’s President Makrand Bhagwat among others.
The air was filled with a sense of communal harmony and reverence, as priests from the Shiva Vishnu Temple and Sri Durga Temple conducted a traditional Laxmi Ganesh pooja alongside the Premier, offering prayers for prosperity and well-being.
In a gesture that highlighted the interweaving of cultures, the president of the Hindu Council of Australia’s Victoria Chapter presented a copy of the Srimad Bhagavad Gita to Premier Jacinta Allan and the Multicultural Minister Ingrid, symbolising the sharing of wisdom and spiritual heritage.
Shuba Krishnan, the host for the evening, charmed the attendees with her engaging and curious style, ensuring a warm and inclusive atmosphere.
The cultural dances were a highlight of the evening, mesmerising the attendees with their elegance and vibrancy, showcasing the richness of Hindu culture.
However, the event was not without its challenges. While the food served was delectable, there were concerns about the management of the service. The culinary delights, though delicious, were marred by logistical hiccups, with some guests experiencing long waits.
This aspect underscored the need for better management in future events to match the growing scale and expectations of such community gatherings.
This, however, did not dampen the spirits of the attendees who viewed the celebration as a testament to the success and integration of Hindu communities originating from diverse regions like India, Nepal, Bhutan, Fiji, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and others.
The gathering also served as a reminder of the growing needs of these communities. Attendees expressed a desire for more support from government entities at all levels to cater to the evolving needs of these vibrant and expanding cultural groups.
It is fair to say the Diwali state reception by Victorian Premier Jacinta Allan was more than a celebration; it was a vibrant showcase of Australia’s multicultural strengths and a poignant reminder of the ongoing journey towards greater inclusivity and support for diverse communities.
It reaffirmed the shared values of unity, respect, and the triumph of light over darkness, resonating deeply with the essence of Diwali and a reflection of the growing prominence of Hindu communities in the societal fabric of the nation.
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