Bengali community celebrates Durga

Shubhra Sinha holds a diya lamp, a symbol of universal light, as she marks Durga along with other...
Shubhra Sinha holds a diya lamp, a symbol of universal light, as she marks Durga along with other members of the Bengali community. Photo: Linda Robertson
A festival intended to create a sense of community has achieved its aim for Dunedin’s Bengali community.

Last year’s inaugural Durga festival in the city was held in a garage, a space which proved inadequate for the dozens who showed up.

This year it was moved to  the Balmacewen Bowling Club, the venue attracting  more than 100 people to the event on Saturday.

"We didn’t know who would come the first time. It was put on because we missed our festival," spokesman Aniruddha Chatterjee said.

"The response was overwhelming. It was amazing how successful it was, so this year we made it bigger and invited other people along to come and enjoy it with us."

The Dunedin event was believed to be the southernmost Durga celebration in the world.

While it was a Bengali-organised event, all Indians held celebrations around this time and they — as well as all other New Zealanders — had been welcomed at the festival, Dr Chatterjee said.

"We worship at Durga and celebrate good defeating evil.

"Like Christmas and other festivals, it started from a religious context, but we are not a religious organisation. It is about delivering the culture ... and about people from different cultures coming together to celebrate."

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