Diwali 2017 call for stalls and performers

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ATEED, Auckland, June 19, 2017

Do you make an incomparable dahi puri?

Gulab jamun that people will travel across town for?

Or are you part of a dance group able to help showcase Indian performance styles, from a brilliant Bharat Natyam, an awesome Odissi to a magnificent Manipuri and more?

Applications are now open for stallholders and performers for the 2017 Auckland Diwali Festival, which takes place on Saturday, October 14 and Sunday, October 15, in Aotea Square and Queen Street.

The annual festival brings together Aucklanders and visitors of all ages and ethnic backgrounds to celebrate and experience traditional and contemporary Indian culture in its many exciting forms.

Live performances

Auckland Diwali Festival features live music and dance performances by local and international performers, a broad range of Indian foods and sweets, street theatre and workshops, and wraps up with a dazzling fireworks display.

The festival is delivered by Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED), on behalf of Auckland Council, in partnership with Asia New Zealand Foundation.

ATEED Head of Major Events, Charmaine Ngarimu, said, “The Auckland Diwali Festival is one of the major cultural festivals in our region, with Aucklanders of all backgrounds embracing its joyful atmosphere, bright colours and wonderful vegetarian tastes. It also provides the chance to see the wonderful local dance and musical talent we have here in Auckland, as well as catch some stunning international performers.”

Radio Tarana Competition

Groups and performers who would like to be considered for stage performances, street performances and the Radio Tarana Bollywood dance competition at the 2017 Auckland Diwali Festival need to apply by July 31, 2017.

The event is also the largest vegetarian festival in the country. Auckland Diwali Festival stall sites are available for vegetarian food, sweets, craft, and henna vendors, or to promote community organisations and businesses. The deadline for stallholder applications is July 10, 2017.

Further information, online application forms and dance competition judging criteria can be found on www.aucklandnz.com/diwali or by emailing the Auckland Diwali Festival team at www.diwali@aucklandnz.com.

Notes on Diwali

The Auckland festival is inspired by Diwali or Deepavali (row of lamps), an important and ancient Indian festival colloquially known as The Festival of Lights. It is celebrated by people in India and Indians living abroad. Families light lamps, candles and fireworks to symbolise the triumph of light over darkness, wisdom over ignorance and good over evil.

Originally a Hindu festival, Diwali is also celebrated by non-Hindus. It’s an official holiday in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname, Malaysia, Singapore and Fiji.

Varying significance

Diwali signifies different things in different areas of India. For example, in Gujarat, the festival honours Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. In north India, it celebrates the god Rama’s homecoming to the kingdom of Ayodhya after a 14-year exile. To light his way and rejoice at his return, the people of Ayodhya illuminated the kingdom with earthen diyas and fireworks.

Growth over the years

The Auckland Diwali Festival was first held in 2002, initiated by the Asia New Zealand Foundation and delivered in partnership with the then-Auckland City Council (now Auckland Council). It was set up to raise public awareness of traditional Indian culture, and acknowledge the contribution made by the country’s Indian communities during their long history in New Zealand.

The religious festival’s annual dates are decided by the lunar calendar. The Auckland Diwali Festival is timed to coincide with both the observance of Diwali and the Wellington Diwali Festival, with which it shares its partner, the Asia New Zealand Foundation, and visiting international performers.

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