Festival of Lights

On Sunday 17 November 2013, the Boroondara Interfaith Network, in partnership with the Salvation Army Camberwell Corps, held a Festival of Lights event at the Salvation Army facility on Bowen Street.

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To mark the month of festivals of light, attendees were greeted with an array of vibrant decorations, various stalls and the intricate melodies of a sitar to join in an afternoon of food, faith and festivity. As well as an opportunity to meet and celebrate with fellow community members, the festival was filled with informative stalls that showcased the diverse traditions, rituals, ornaments, instruments and activities used to celebrate light across various faith traditions. Attendees spent the afternoon walking around and visiting stalls that included:

  • Musical instruments from around the world
  • Jewish traditions and ceremonies
  • Art and craft corner to decorate your own lamp
  • Saree draping and henna art
  • ‘Ray of Hope’ art exhibit by Briana
  • ‘Diwali’ and other Asian festival sweets
  • ‘Wall of Light’ displaying significant bible verses
  • ‘Rangoli’ floor art decorating

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Representatives of the Hindu, Christian, Jewish and Sikh faiths ran the various stalls providing attendees with information and insights as they made their way around the community hall.

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Norman Gale, Director Community Engagement at Salvation Army was our MC for the afternoon’s formal proceedings. A traditional Hindu song performed by Mrs Shome opened the program, followed by enlightening presentations from various community members who took attendees through the meaning of light in their respective faiths. The speakers included Colin Reynolds from Salvation Army, Indu Puwar from the Hindu community, Tzipi Boroda from the Jewish community and Safal Kaur Singh from the Sikh community. Throughout the presentations we heard of light as a symbol of hope, renewal, reverence and ultimately, signifying the triumph of good over evil. To conclude the formal program, Parvin Singh performed an enchanting Indian ‘Kathak’ dance to the music of Josh’s sitar.

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After the formal program, attendees continued to visit the various stalls and sample the multicultural sweets and savoury treats catered by Cultural Education for the shared afternoon tea. As the festival came to an end, attendees remarked at their delight at being a part of our multifaith celebration.

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This event would not have been possible without the time and dedication provided by the Salvation Army Camberwell Corp, friends of the Boroondara Interfaith Network and the Festival of Lights planning committee. It was a wonderful way to tie up what has been a busy yet exciting calendar of interfaith events. A heartfelt thanks to all as we look ahead to yet another year!