Scaled-down Diwali delights

Rangoli artist Madhuri Kumari uses coloured powder to create a temporary pattern on the floor...
Rangoli artist Madhuri Kumari uses coloured powder to create a temporary pattern on the floor during a celebration of South Asian heritage at the Otago Museum.PHOTO: SIMON HENDERSON
A recent celebration of the Diwali festival of light at the Otago Museum was a reminder of the increasing diversity of Dunedin.

Organised by the Natyaloka School of Indian Dance, Arasan NZ Trust and the Otago Museum, the day of dance and activities on November 7 was one of the few festivals able to take place around the country due to the challenges of Covid-19 alert levels.

Otepoti Dunedin Diwali celebration organising committee members Natyaloka director Swaroopa Unni, Otago Museum programmes and events officer Suzanne Caulton and Arasan NZ Trust member Lux Selvanesan said last year’s event had to be cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, so they

were delighted to present a scaled-back event this year.

The event was able to take place by using various areas of the museum to allow for social distancing.

Activities included henna hand painting (mehndi), learning how to wrap a turban or drape a sari and a socially distanced Bollywood dance workshop and the Otago Museum Cafe served traditional Indian food.

Mrs Unni said the event showcased the vibrant South Asian heritage that existed in Dunedin.

‘‘For the South Asian community it is a connection to their homeland as well, coming to an event like this.’’

Dr Selvanesan said Diwali was a traditional Hindu festival but it now had cultural connotations for many South Asian communities.

‘‘It is called the festival of light and it signifies triumph of good over evil and light over darkness.’’

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