Newtown Diwali Festival
Almost 200 performers will take part in Johannesburg's annual Newtown Diwali Festival, which is being billed as a grand fiesta of "light, cheerfulness and togetherness".
Scheduled for Mary Fitzgerald Square on Saturday, 18 October from 10am until midnight, there will be an array of fun activities, from an esoteric fair to dance workshops, music and its core focus, light. Entrance is free.
The inner city suburb was specifically chosen to host it because it provides a "wonderful" ambiance for people and their arts and cultures to meet.
The festival "will bring light into the city, physically and emotionally, and reflect optimism", says festival manager and director Nisha Moodley. Moodley also conceptualised and initiated the celebration, which will have "something for everybody".
Now in its fourth year - the Diwali Festival was first held in Newtown in 2005 - on the cards are Indian food, children's art workshops, fashion shows, a fireworks display, and a market for some retail therapy.
There will be four different dance workshops, "which are a very popular part of the already tested formula of the festival". They include north and south Indian classical, folk and Bollywood dances.
"Festival goers will be spoilt for choice with the wide array of entertainment scheduled to take place - there will be everything," Moodley says.
Hindu New year
Diwali is a Hindu celebration known as the festival of lights- it is recognised around the world by millions of people and marks the beginning of the Hindu New Year. This year it officially takes place on 28 October.
Diwali represents peace, harmony and the triumph of light over darkness. In keeping with these sentiments, the festival is all inclusive of colour, creed and race.
"It is targeting everybody and anybody who aspires to the element of light and inner enlightenment, regardless of your race or religion," Moodley notes. "Music, dance and the arts have an amazing ability to transcend differences."
"This event aims to bring people together. We invite the people of Joburg to 'share the light.'"
Diwali is a time of merrymaking, dancing, sharing and eating good food. It is a holy holiday in the Hindu calendar that unites the whole of India, as well as the Indian diaspora. Traditionally, lamps, candles and lights are lit around homes, gardens and city streets, and people exchange sweets; there are also fireworks displays.
The Newtown Diwali Festival is supported by the Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality and is endorsed by the Gauteng provincial government. It will be held at Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown on Saturday, 18 October. Festivities will start at 10am and the party will last until midnight, with a Bollywood street party to end the day.
Source: City of Johannesburg
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