22nd October 2014
The sails of the Sydney Opera House have turned a vibrant orange and yellow during an event hosted by NSW Premier Mike Baird and Minister for Citizenship and Communities Victor Dominello in celebration of the Hindu festival of light, Deepavali.
Mr Baird and Mr Dominello were joined by Multicultural NSW Chair and prominent member of the Indian community, Dr Hari Harinath, to mark the occasion.
“This is the first time the Opera House has been lit up in celebration of Deepavali, the festival of light celebrated by the global Hindu community,” Mr Baird said.
“The sails of the Opera House lit up as Mr Dominello and Dr Harinath joined me to light a traditional diya, a ceremonial lamp in Hindu culture that signifies the lifting of spiritual darkness and the renewal of life.
“Deepavali is celebrated across the world. This special event has been held for the Hindu community of NSW, which makes a valuable contribution to our multicultural society.
“This festival has been embraced by Australians of all backgrounds and is one of many cultural and religious celebrations that take place every year across NSW.
“The NSW Government celebrates cultural and religious diversity and it’s through events such as these that we can learn and understand more about each other’s backgrounds.”
Mr Dominello said the State’s South Asian community was made up of over 200,000 people who now call Australia home.
“Deepavali has been celebrated for centuries across the Indian subcontinent and many thousands of people from this region now call NSW home.
“People from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka as well as South East Asia have brought with them the rich traditions of Deepavali and we appreciate the positive contributions they’ve made to our multicultural society,” he said.
The Sydney Opera House will remain lit in Deepavali colours for one night only until midnight on Tuesday 21 October with the support of the NSW Government.
NSW Parliament House was lit up simultaneously and will remain lit each night until Wednesday 5 November, when the Premier hosts a Deepavali event at Parliament House.