Indian festival Diwali Mela lights up Albert Hall on Sunday

Article Lead - narrow624868391175rjimage.related.articleLeadNarrow.353x0.117b5j.png1413502899943.jpg-300x0Canberrans have been invited to enjoy Bollywood dancing, fireworks and games as the Indian community celebrates its annual festival of lights on Sunday.

The  Diwali Mela festival returns to Albert Hall and will combine an abundance of entertainment options, including yoga, train rides, jumping castles and poetry,   as well as stalls of tasty curry.

Senior Indian community leader and festival spokesman Raj Satija said the event was part of a five-day Hindu festival in India marking an event from 5000 years ago.

“The historical significance is that Lord Rama came back to his kingdom after 14 years, and people celebrated by putting little lanterns out to welcome him,” he said.

“Diwali Mela is called the biggest festival each year.”

Sunday’s festival will be a social affair, Mr Satija said, with about 2000 people expected to visit throughout  the day.

Music and  Bollywood and classical Indian dancers  in full costume will be on display.

Religious events including the lighting of clay lamps in Hindu homes and temples occurred on the actual day of  Diwali Mela, which this year falls on October 23, the darkest night of the Hindu month Kartik. The event was designed to symbolise the victory of light over darkness and good over evil.

The festival runs from 11am to 8pm at Albert Hall on Commonwealth Avenue and a fireworks display will close the night. Entrance is free before 11.30am, cost is $5 for families and $3 for singles afterwards.

The Odissi dance group from India, touring nationally, will perform with musicians at the Mawson temple at 6.30pm on Tuesday,  with visitors welcome.