The iconic sails of the Sydney Opera House have turned gold to mark the most widely celebrated Hindu festival Diwali. NSW Premier Mike Baird and Minister for Multiculturalism John Ajaka on last Friday night hosted a community reception at the Museum of Contemporary Art to celebrate the occasion, says a media release from the NSW Premiers office and photos by Salty Dingo
“The lighting of the sails of the Sydney Opera House is a truly spectacular sight – and a sign to the world of the NSW Government’s respect and appreciation for Diwali,” Mr Baird said. “Diwali is embraced by Hindu and non-Hindu communities across NSW and Australia and this will be the third time the Opera House lights up in celebration of the Festival of Lights. “The NSW Government has honoured this festival for many years and the lighting of the Opera House sails reflects the lighting of the ceremonial lamps during Diwali,” he said.
Diwali is an important time for many communities from India and South Asia with the lighting of diyas, ceremonial lamps, symbolising lifting of spiritual darkness and new beginnings. This is the first year the Sydney Opera House lighting and the community reception – usually held at NSW Parliament – are held on the same night.
“There are more than 200,000 people with Indian and South Asian heritage in New South Wales,” Mr Ajaka said. “Deepavali is one of the most celebrated festivals in our state, and is a testament to our rich cultural and religious diversity.” The sails of the Sydney Opera House lit up for Diwali for one night only on Friday 21 October with the support of the NSW Government.
It is my great pleasure to send warm greetings Australians celebrating the traditional Indian festival of Diwali, or Deepavali.
From its beginnings as a Hindu festival of light, Diwali is now celebrated across the world by communities of Indian ancestry, shared by Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs.
The central message of the triumph of light over darkness is one that continues to resonate with people around the world, and I am delighted that it has become an
essential part of our state’s multicultural calendar.
The lighting of the Sydney Opera House sails signifies that Diwali has now become a mainstream festival, one that can be enjoyed by families of all backgrounds.
I wish everyone celebrating Diwali a happy and joyful festival.