This year’s National Multicultural Festival in Canberra lived up to its reputation of being the best in Australia.
It was a special event, since Canberra is celebrating its 100th anniversary.
The three-day Festival, held from February 8 to 10, 2013, was a testament to Canberra’s inclusive and welcoming community, and enjoyed the support of the Australian Capital Territory, government organisations, businesses, cultural and social associations and groups and individuals.
It was a kaleidoscope of colours, sounds, sights, flavours and fun, transforming Canberra into a global city.
As well as music, dances and concerts, the Festival featured exhibitions and cuisine, to the delight of thousands of people of varied ethnicity.
Among the highlights of the 11th annual event were Greek Glendi, Carnival in the City, Chinese New Year, Pacific Island Showcase and India in the City.
The meaning of multiculturalism has changed significantly since its formal introduction to Australia.
The mainstream population had earlier noted it as ‘a need for acceptance.’
However, they now consider the rights of migrants to express their cultural identity.
Canberra is home to more than 100 embassies and high commissions and hence its community accounts for people from more than 170 countries.
The National Multicultural Festival provides an opportunity for the ethnic minorities to share their various culture and traditions with the mainstream population.
It also provides an opportunity for Australians to learn and appreciate diverse cultures and appreciate their dynamism.
India in the City, inspired by Bollywood, was dramatic, with colourful costumes, and a variety of spicy food drew large crowds.
India in the City featured classical dances, Garbha and Bhangra workshops, Karnataka folk dance, Kerala fusion and performances under the aegis of a number of associations.
The Shiamack Davar dance group from Melbourne stole the show with its 15-minute workshop on Bollywood dancing.
Arveen Sharma is Senior Procurement/Contract Management Officer at the Treasury Directorate of the Federal Government of Australia based in Canberra.