May 30, 2020

Waikato Museum showcases Diwali festival traditions

By: Gurbir Singh

Experience the story behind the celebration of Diwali, the festival of lights and enjoy the tradition of this biggest festival of India for the first time at the Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato.

Diwali, the festival of lights

Seven Hamilton community groups have come together to showcase Indian dance, music and other traditions for Diwali at the Museum on Sunday 27 October, on the same day it falls.

Celebrated by millions of Indians of different faiths across the world, Diwali coincides with the Hindu New Year, celebrating new beginnings and the triumph of light over darkness. 

Waikato Museum Director, Cherie Meecham says: “This is the first time Waikato Museum will host Hamilton’s Indian community for Diwali, and we’re looking forward to sharing in this colourful festival.”

Suman kapoor
Suman Kapoor, one of the organisers

Suman Kapoor of one of the festival organising groups, Hamilton Diwali Mela, says: “This is our 10th year celebration and we’re delighted to be working with Waikato Museum to share Diwali festival on the day itself with the wider Hamilton community.”

The Diwali event at Waikato Museum is  free, starting at 11am on Sunday 27 October with performances of Bharatnatiyam and other traditional Indian dances running until 1pm, followed by a range of interactive activities, including crafts and storytelling, running until 3pm. 

Indian Dance
A traditional Indian dance, Bharatanatiyam

Museum visitors can join in drawing and colouring a rangoli (floor design), learn about henna (hand tattoo) and bindi (forehead mark) designs, and create a diya (lamp) to take home to welcome goodwill to the family.

The seven Indian organisations that have joined with Waikato Museum to share their cultural traditions with the wider Hamilton community are: Hamilton Diwali Mela, Desi Rhythms by Shai, Kirikiriroa Multicultural Council Inc, India NZ Global, Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan, GOPIO (Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin), and Hamilton Hindi School.