Contest shines light on diversity

Article image - Contest shines light  on diversity

Blacktown City Council in New South Wales has hosted the inaugural Diwali Festival of Lights Competition to recognise and celebrate the thriving local Indian community.

The Singh family from Blacktown has been announced the winner of the competition, which was organised by Blacktown City Council in association with Indian Link Media Group to celebrate the annual Diwali Festival, held across the world on 19 October this year.

Ajinesh Singh said his family has been decorating their home for Diwali for the past 11 years, but it was wonderful to be publicly and officially recognised by Council.

“Council should be proud and I think it is a great idea that they have done this because we are a very multicultural community,” he said.
“The Indian community is growing and it’s good to see another culture being celebrated and recognised.”

Mayor of Blacktown City, Councillor Stephen Bali said Blacktown is one of the most culturally diverse cities in Australia, being home to 28,000 people of Indian descent.

“It is only fitting that we should host Australia’s first Diwali light up your homes competition, fusing an Australian and Indian tradition into a mutual celebration of light and life,” he said.

“Seeing we are the only Diwali Festival of Lights Competition in Australia, we can truly call the winner the inaugural national champion – yet another first for Blacktown’s thriving and vibrant Indian community.

“I thank everyone who took part and look forward to a bigger and brighter event next year.”

Competition judge Councillor Moninder Singh said he was impressed with the quality of entrants.

“It’s not just the lights that were impressive, but the team work and the meaningful traditions behind the light displays,” Cr Singh said.

“This festival is sacred to the Indian community – it’s as big as Christmas – so for Council to hold a competition to recognise the Diwali Festival means a great deal.”

The ancient Hindu festival of Diwali celebrates the victory of light over darkness, with observers around the world lighting lamps and candles in and around homes and temples.