Holi festival to be a cross-cultural celebration

February 23, 2024 BY

Bright: Members of the Indian Association of Bendigo including Annu Mishra, Allira Mishra, Agni Awasthi, and Aima Awasthi are getting ready for a celebration as part of the Hindu Holi Festival. Photo: SOPHIE FOUNÉ

THE Indian Association of Bendigo is preparing for this year’s Holi Festival, which last year got booked out.

President of the organisation Abhishek Awasthi said their event was the biggest Holi celebration in regional Victoria.

“Importantly, it recognises and further establishes Bendigo as a multicultural town,” he said.

“Last year the issue was that it was all sold out.”

Mr Awasthi said people have told members of the group they decided to move to Bendigo because of its strong Indian community, as demonstrated by events like the Holi celebration.

“Belonging is really key,” he said. “Festivals like Holi, they provide that connection to migrants.

“We need to have more of these celebrations, where people can belong, where people can enjoy, and where people can celebrate with their families and the local community.”

A highlight of Holi is throwing coloured powder.

Mr Awasthi said the blending of the bright colours was like the mixing of people from diverse backgrounds.

“We have different nationalities… different faiths that will be attending, everyone is welcome,” he said.

“This is a cross-cultural exchange, not one way. These colours, they really signify that joy, that fun.”

State Member for Bendigo West, Maree Edwards, has been its ‘number one ticket holder’ since the local Holi event’s inception three years ago.

“For those who haven’t been before, it is an amazing event, and one not to be missed on the events calendar across Bendigo,” she said.

“The whole area is just enveloped in Indian culture, from the food trucks to the dancing, to the throwing of coloured powder on everyone.”

The organisation received $40,000 to run the event through the Victoria Multicultural Festival and Events Program.

The festival will be held on Saturday 23 March at Golden Square Pool and tickets to the free event can be obtained at iab.net.au/holi.