News & Events

Festival of Cultures: Celebrating connections and community

Thursday February 20 2020

It’s that time of the year again when different cultures in Palmerston North converge to celebrate diversity and community. The Festival of Cultures is one of Palmerston North’s longest-standing community events. This year's festival is 29 February to 7 March, featuring entertainment, food, performances, workshops and cultural activities galore.

Photo shows group of women and children in traditional cultural dress.

Thousands of people gather in the city every year for Palmy’s Festival of Cultures.

The colourful Lantern Parade is on Saturday 29 February. Hand-crafted lanterns will fill the Square. Many of these were created during the lantern workshops organised by REACT (Rangiwahia Environmental Arts Centre Trust).

The night will burst with street performances, a Balkan-groove marching band and the unveiling of the new centrepiece Year of the Rat lantern. The Lantern Parade symbolises reunion. It’s for everyone to reunite and celebrate. Through events like this, we are more enriched and aware of each other’s cultures and identities.

International performers join locals in the lineup for World Fair Day on Saturday 7 March. There will also be 100-plus food and craft stalls and the "have a go" tent, where festival-goers can try out cultural activities.

Throughout the week, there will be many other events and activities as part of the festival. One of those is the Festival of Colours on Friday 6 March at Hardie Street Reserve. It is a student-friendly event inspired by India’s Holi Festival.

Photo shows young women in traditional dress and flower garlands dancing with outstretched arms.

The Manawatū Russian Dance Group will perform a medley of dances on World Fair Day.

Palmerston North City Council funds and organises this event in association with the Manawatū Multicultural Council.