POPULAR Hindu festival Ganesh Chaturthi kept focus on welcoming everyone in the community for a party on Sunday.
Vibrant colours, lively dancing and special food (note – extra sweet treats than usual) were all part of festivities to honour Lord Ganesha, god of wisdom and learning, on his birthday.
Ballarat Hindu Temple and Cultural Centre wanted to ensure all guests felt part of the event, which promotes sharing and caring across all sectors of the community.
The non-profit organisation aims to raise awareness of their culture and embrace others in doing so, and felt what better way than celebrating one of their best loved deities.
Ballarat Regional Multicultural Council chairman Constantine Osuchukwu said there was great diversity in Ballarat and inclusive celebrations, like Ganesh Chaturthi, helped enrich out society.
“In the fragmented world we live in, we should not fear but do all we can to encourage diversity and support different communities,” Father Osuchukwu said.
“We are all human together and should celebrate the similarities we share...BRMC, as a peak body in Ballarat, is doing what it can to make sure people from all diverse cultures feel at home here.
“We can all learn from each other.”
BHTCC invited special guests from a cross-section of the community, including Ballarat deputy-mayor Mark Harris on behalf of council.
This is the second year BHTCC has hosted the celebration at its Brown Hill base.
BHTCC secretary Pradush Narayanan said it was also an important fundraiser to help secure land for a permanent cultural centre to educate children in Hindu tradition and in how to be confident, good citizens of Australia.
The centre teaches children yoga and dancing techniques to promote respect for each other and a calmness.
The Hindu deity is found throughout India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia and Nepal and associated with arts and science, intellect and wisdom.
Mr Narayanan said BHTCC helped bring people from all these backgrounds living in Ballarat together.
Ganesh Chaturthi in Ballarat also drew Hindus from Melbourne.
- Photos, page 17.