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Indian music, food and dance to spice up the capital

Indian music, food and dance to spice up the capital

Transport yourself to India on Labour Day at Wellington's Diwali Festival of Lights.

India’s best-loved festival, Diwali symbolises the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil and the renewal of life. Bring along the family to sample the colours, sounds, tastes and spicy aromas of India at Wellington's 14th Diwali Festival at TSB Bank Arena and Shed 6 on Queens Wharf from 1pm to 9.30pm on Labour Day, Monday 26 October. Entry is by gold coin.

Highlights of the festival include mouth-watering vegetarian food stalls and performances of traditional and contemporary dance and music, leading up to a spectacular display of fireworks.

Two international acts will perform at this year's festival — folk-dance group Mudra Creation and a puppet troupe led by master puppeteer Mahipat Kavi. Kavi, from the western state of Gujarat, has been entertaining crowds for the past 50 years. His Puppet and Plays theatre company has animated some of India’s favourite stories, produced puppet serials for television and films for educational purposes.

Mudra Creation specialises in the folk dances of Maharashtra state, in India’s mid-west. The 10 dancers visiting Wellington will perform a range of dances, including the lively lavani dance, often seen in popular Bollywood movies.

Diwali Festival of Lights is presented by Wellington City Council in partnership with Asia New Zealand Foundation.

Asia New Zealand Foundation director of culture Jennifer King says the Diwali Festival is an immensely colourful, energetic event which is great fun for all age groups. “The performers from India will be a real highlight of this year’s festival – adults will love the dancers, and kids will enjoy the puppets,” she said.

“We're very grateful for the support of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, which has enabled hundreds of artists to travel from India to New Zealand since the first major Diwali festivals were held in 2002.”

Diwali event producer Murali Kumar, of Communities Action Trust NZ, says some of the highlights at this year's festival include the Bollywood Fusion live band and energetic and colourful dance performances by well-known local and regional artists.

Diwali is an ancient Hindu festival celebrating the triumph of light over darkness and the renewal of life. Families celebrate with gatherings, clay lamps, fireworks, sharing of sweets, and worship to Lakshmi - the goddess of love, wealth and prosperity. Diwali is now also celebrated by other faiths in India and in overseas Indian communities.

New Zealand’s public Diwali festivals give Indian communities the opportunity to share their traditions with other cultures. More than 15,000 Wellington residents are of Indian heritage, according to the 2013 Census.

Asia New Zealand Foundation and Wellington City Council gratefully acknowledge the support of Air New Zealand, Cottrell Law, Western Union, the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, the Indian High Commission, The Lion Foundation and 105.3FM.

Diwali Festival of Lights

Monday 26 October 2015, 1pm – 9.30pm

TSB Bank Arena and Shed 6, Queens Wharf, Wellington

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