After months under a cloud, the Diwali Festival of Light in Casey Cardinia has found a suitable venue, and will go ahead.
Gumbuya World, an Aussie adventure theme park near Tynong, east of Melbourne, will host the festival on Saturday 10 November from 5.30 to 10pm.
Diwali, one of the most popular Hindu festivals, symbolises the victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance. It is celebrated in the Northern hemisphere's early autumn.
Organised entirely by volunteers through the Indian Association Casey Cardinia (IACC), the first Diwali festival in the region was held last year in the P B Ronald Reserve in Pakenham.
It was a jubilant occasion and an opportunity for locals to join with the shire’s Indian community and see something of its culture on display, a variety of high quality food and a stream of enthusiastic dancers. That included the then Mayor Cr Brett Owen, resplendent in traditional white Indian clothing as he circulated in the crowd and danced to the music.
The event attracted almost 1000 people, twice what the IACC expected, so this year they applied to hold it in the larger Toomuc Oval. However, the Council asked the IACC to produce a “comprehensive traffic management report”, at their own expense, before council would approve the venue, threatening IACC’s ability to hold Diwali.
Diwali is celebrated by Indian communities all over Melbourne, such as the major event in Fed Square, but as with Christmas and other significant cultural festivities, it is important and meaningful to give people a chance to observe the festival locally with their own neighbours and community.