There will be arts and crafts, activities for children, displays and performances on stage. Food trucks and stalls will sell vegetarian food, sweets and savouries at the festival, which starts at 5.30pm.
Diwali is traditionally celebrated for up to five days and represents good overcoming evil. Diwali is a time when Hindus honour the goddess of wealth, Lakshmi, by lighting their homes with diyas (oil lamps) to welcome her; sweets and gifts are exchanged, special meals are shared, and family and friends don their finery and watch the fireworks.
“Festivals are an expressive way to acknowledge heritage, culture and traditions. Diwali carries different meanings for many communities living in Palmerston North and the event will be a fantastic opportunity to come together and celebrate its significance,” Palmerston North City Council Multicultural Services Officer Jeremie Corroenne says.
The festival is community-led and organised by the Central Districts Indian Association, Manawatū Hindu Society, Shree Dance Academy, Bhutanese Society, Satsang Mandali Central, Manawatū Multicultural Council, Massey University Students Association, IPU New Zealand and UCOL, with support from Palmerston North City Council’s Welcoming Communities and the City Library.
The Shree Dance Academy, a multicultural dance troupe of 12 children and 13 adults, will perform dances ranging from Bollywood style to folk and Kathak, an Indian classical dance.
Central Districts Indian Association president Anita Naran says her members will also perform and they will have food and arts and craft stalls.
“So far, 2020 has been a very difficult year for everyone. In these hard times, we hope that the Diwali in The Square celebrations will bring some colour, joy and a positive atmosphere,” she says.
“We would like to thank the Council for its help in organising this event. Central Districts Indian Association along with other groups wishes everyone a happy Diwali.”
The Manawatū Multicultural Council, which represents 45 cultural community groups, will have an information booth to raise awareness about their activities and to attract new members.
“We would like to wish everyone a happy Diwali and we hope it will bring joy and happiness to all,” says Multicultural Council Centre Manager Christine Mukabalinda.
Mayor Grant Smith says community-led cultural events, such as Diwali in The Square, reflect the diverse multicultural communities of the city and helps build Palmy’s reputation as being connected, creative and exciting.
“This year, more than any other in recent history, has shown us that we are members of a global community. Our city is a microcosm of this, with people of many cultures now calling Palmy home. Celebration events such as Diwali give opportunities for our wider community to experience the richness this multicultural diversity brings to our city.”