Diwali Festival Celebrations

10 October 2011

Expect to be dazzled by light, colour and fireworks at this year's Diwali Festival on Wellington waterfront this weekend.

Traditional Indian dance performer

Traditional Indian dance performer

It's the 10th anniversary of the much-loved Indian celebration, and organisers say this year's festival will be the most extravagant yet.

Over 300 artists are participating at three venues (TSB Arena, Shed 6 and Te Papa) on Saturday and Sunday.  

Highlights include, internationally-renowned sand sculptor Ranjan Kumar Ganguly, who will be using Te Papa as his canvas, creating his amazing pieces of sand art.

The TSB Arena will stage the Manipuri dancers. One of the major Indian classical dances, their colourful costumes feature mirrors and zari embroidery intricately woven into beautiful designs.

Children shouldn't miss The Indian Puppeteers. The Chennai-based puppet company will bring to life some of India's best-loved children's stories, using puppets made from parchment leather - some are up to two metres high.

Festival organiser Murali Kumar says this year's event will be more interactive and educational. There'll be classes in speaking Hindi, musical sessions and cooking classes. Other highlights are Bollywood workouts and a competition, 15 vegetarian food stalls will be set up in Shed 6 and more than 20 stalls selling clothes, jewellery and other Indian products will be based in the TSB Arena

Diwali, also known as Deepavali (literally "a row of lamps), marks the beginning of the Hindu New Year according to the Lunar calendar. It celebrates the victory of the good over the evil by lighting lights.

Organised by Wellington City Council and Asia NZ, the festival has grown from humble beginnings to be a major annual event in the capital.

After a dark winter, Diwali is a great excuse to add a bit of light to your life and welcome in spring. The fireworks will be let off at 9.55pm at Frank Kitts Park. For a full programme of events:

Diwali Festival of Lights 2011 - Asia:NZ Online website