Lights go on, best bling brought out for Diwali
DEENA COSTER, SUSAN STRONGMAN
Fireworks rounded off a night of song, dance and traditional cuisine at celebrations to mark Diwali in New Plymouth on Saturday evening.
More than 500 people attended festivities at the New Plymouth Girls' High School auditorium organised by the New Plymouth Indian Community to mark the Festival of Lights.
They were treated to about a dozen performances including top Auckland group Nachda Punjab and Taranaki favourite Farid Khan, who performed his take on Michael Jackson's hit Billie Jean.
The most widely-celebrated Hindu festival in India, Diwali is often associated with colour and fireworks, and essentially celebrates the triumph of light over darkness.
Many in the Taranaki Indian community took the chance to get dressed up in traditional costume and there were plenty of multi-coloured outfits, gold and other bling on show.
New Plymouth teacher Sangeeta Chaudhari said celebrations such as Diwali helped to keep cultural traditions alive for Indian families who lived outside of their home country.
She said this was especially important for children, including her own.
Merrilands School pupil Ashna Kumar, 6, said being able to wear a new dress and see the fireworks were the things she most liked about Diwali.
"And the food."
The event began with an explanation of the cultural significance of Diwali, before the musical performances began and food was served.
New Plymouth Indian Community president Ashwani Kumar said he was very happy with the turnout.
He said about $4000 had been raised from ticket sales which would be used to assist the people affected by recent floods in India.
Deena Coster and Susan Strongman are Witt journalism students
- © Fairfax NZ News
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