Parramatta Deepavali

On the banks of the Parramatta River in a suburb of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia a festival of sights, sounds and tastes from South Asia delight over 80,000 visitors annually to the Parramasala Festival. Participants from all around the world who are inspired by the artistic traditions of South Asia join together in Parramatta every year for the international arts festival.

Parramatta is the second oldest settlement in Australia, founded in 1788 where the fresh water begins in the Parramatta River. It was considered the best place to farm the food needed to feed the British Colony in nearby Sydney. The area was long considered a place rich in food from the forests and river, especially the eels, by the Aboriginal people who lived there for many generations.

This year it started with a festival of lights for Deepavali, the Hindu celebration of good conquering evil. The Parramatta Stadium was glittering with rows of lights and fireworks.

With over 120 events, there is always something for every member of the family. Yoga demonstrations for those who want to learn something new or brush up on old standards, South Asian films with high drama and lots of music and dance, many live dance programs by professionals as well as children. More than 60 international artists from North America, Europe and South Asia perform.

Some extraordinary examples are David Hykes and the Harmonic Choir with their blend of music styles from South Asia. It is based on North Indian music and Buddhist chants. Also, a Malaysian solo dancer, Mavin Khoo, combines traditional Asian dance with Western modern dance.

Another highlight of the Parramasala Festival is various cuisines from South Asia. The Masala Market and Festival Lounge as well as other restaurants in the area offer well prepared tasty treats. The Parkroyal gave a 20 percent discount to Parramasalas ticket holders.

Many free events including Baul Shilpi a touring ensemble of Baul musicians, documentaries screening each day, Kathak dance by Madhumita Roy & company, Rasa Duende with Bobby Singh’s table percussion and flamenco guitar, visual arts exhibitions and many other free performances are available for the whole family.

The city of Parramatta is transformed every year to celebrate the music, theatre, dance, film, food and visual arts of South Asia. The area around Town Hall and St. John’s Cathedral Square as well as the Riverside Theatres district are the main areas of the festival