A cultural festival with an Australian spin will be hosted near Ballarat for the first time this month, to express thanks to nature, the sun and farmers for producing our food.
Tamil asylum seeker Neil Para has been busy planning Harvest Festival Australia for many weeks.
The inaugural festival is based on the idea of Thai Pongal - an important annual Tamil cultural celebration.
Expressing thanks and respecting nature is a key part of Tamil heritage, with Tamil people practising sustainable farming and celebrating nature for playing a part in their successful lives throughout history.
Thai Pongal is celebrated back in Mr Para's homeland in Sri Lanka as well as in other countries with Tamil populations including India, Singapore and Malaysia.
"I am a Tamil man and when I was back with my family, my parents, we celebrated the Harvest Festival.
"Here there are a lot of Tamil people celebrating but they don't do it with the farmers. So based on this idea, I am bringing it into the Australian culture, to thank farmers and nature."
Mr Para said he decided to introduce the celebration to the region so the wider community could show their appreciation for nature and to also have a chance to get to know their local farmers, learn more about their lives and the challenges they face working on the land.
He said it was important to recognise the farmers who worked hard to produce the food that ends up on our tables and nourishes us and to thank them for the food they provide.
He added that farmers he had spoken with also indicated that they wanted to express thanks to what they are grateful for on the day, such as the truck drivers who transport their produce.
"It's a kind of mixed multiculturalism," Mr Para said.
The festival, which will be free to attend, is being supported by Tamil Festival Australia.
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It will begin with an Aboriginal Smoking Ceremony before the creation of the sweet rice pot offering ahead of musical entertainment. Some farmers will also bring along animals.
A variety of Tamil-style Sri Lankan, Indian, Malaysian and Singaporean food will be on offer.
Mr Para is still looking for more farmers or food vendors who wish to host a stall at the event. There will be no fee for them to attend.
Mr Para is building a committee and hopes that the festival will be bigger and better next year and that it will be celebrated across more locations across Australia in future.
The festival will be hosted at Garibaldi Public Hall on Saturday, January 23 from 10am to 2pm.
To be COVID-safe, people planning to attend are asked to select an eTicket through Eventbrite.