Aucklanders celebrates Diwali

Kiwis love celebrating the festival of lights. Since 2002, the Auckland Diwali Festival has grown to be a hugely popular, family friendly event showcasing traditional and contemporary Indian culture and Auckland’s diverse Indian communities.

This year was supposed to be Auckland’s 20th Diwali Festival, but unfortunately, Covid-19 has hampered the organizers’ best-laid plans. Though the Auckland Diwali Festival is cancelled, one can still celebrate Diwali with a range of entertaining and informative content to enjoy from the comfort of their home and like every year, this year too one can witness Auckland’s key landmarks being lit up in bright fuchsia and yellow to showcase the Festival of Lights.

The festival will seem a little different this year with online celebrations. Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said, “Diwali is one of Auckland’s most popular festivals and a really important celebration for the Indian community.

It is disappointing that the usual celebration has again had to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 crisis. However, we want Diwali to still be a special time for Aucklanders, with the online programme providing opportunities for families at home to enjoy Indian culture and celebrate the Festival of Lights together.”

The Auckland Diwali Festival team have gathered a range of entertaining and educational content for all Aucklanders to enjoy, available at Aucklandnz.com/Diwali. The Auckland Diwali Festival Facebook page is sharing daily inspiration.

Leilana Meredith, Festival Producer, said: “While the tens of thousands of Aucklanders who normally attend our major event aren’t able to this year, we still wanted to support Aucklanders to celebrate Diwali, learn more about Indian culture, enjoy and try something new at home with their family. Tasty Indian dishes and treats are a firm festival favourite, so we have fantastic at-home recipes and cooking demonstrations; music, crafts and dance are always hugely popular, so we have dance classes, henna and craft templates, videos to learn more about Diwali and Indian culture, and a playlist of music from DJs that would usually perform at the festival.”

While it is 20 years since the first Auckland Diwali Festival, the celebration of that much-anticipated milestone will be saved for the next in-person festival.

Auckland Diwali Festival is an important opportunity to celebrate traditional and contemporary Indian culture and our diverse Auckland Indian communities. The Auckland Diwali Festival is delivered by Auckland Unlimited, on behalf of Auckland Council. Asia New Zealand Foundation is the festival’s founding partner.

ONLINE CELEBRATION DETAILS:

· Cooking Classes with Dolly Mumma (Info/registration here)

o Biryani for President – USD10 | Saturday 30 October

· Live dance classes on Auckland Diwali Festival Facebook page

o Bollywood Masala by Khottey Sikkey | Saturday 30 October, 3pm

· Landmarks Lighting for Festival of Lights

o Vector Lights on the Auckland Harbour Bridge, Tuesday 26 October – Sunday 31 October.

o Te Ara I Whiti, Tuesday 26 October – Sunday 31 October.

o Sky Tower, Friday 29 October – Sunday 31 October.

o Auckland War Memorial Museum, Monday 1 November – Saturday 6 November.

o Viaduct Harbour, Saturday 30 October – Sunday 07 November

· Available on Auckland Diwali Festival website:

o Craft templates for henna art, making a paper marigold garland, rangoli and a salt dough diya.

o Six vegetarian recipes to try at home including coconut barfi, semiya payasam, chole bhature, and dosa. Recipes kindly provided by Dolly Mumma, Banu’s, Mithai, and Anju’s Kitchen.

o Dance and music playlists, featuring the local dancers, musicians and DJs that would usually perform on the stages at the Diwali Festival.

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