Subcontinent countries present entertaining cultural mix
By Vish Viswanathan
‘Spicy Penrith’, a multicultural festival celebrating harmony and diversity of subcontinent communities was held on August 8 at the Memorial Hall in St Mary’s. The sold out event showcased traditional arts and culture from the Indian subcontinent countries of India, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Nepal, through food, cultural performances and music.
The event began with a welcome drumming sequence by a group of talented artistes hailing from Maharashtra, India followed by the national anthem of Australia. Welcoming the audience Councillor Ross Fowler, OAM, Mayor of Penrith said, “Spicy Penrith is a celebration of cultural diversity, and I congratulate the working committee and volunteers for their efforts.” He also acknowledged the proud sponsors of the event – ANZ Bank, Federation of Australian Indian Association (FAIA), Western Union, Nepalese Community of Western Sydney, Multicultural NSW and the Association of Bhutanese in Australia. Looking around her at the colourful, gaily attired attendees and cheerful atmosphere, Prue Car MP, Member for Londonderry enthusiastically said, “I feel at home!” recalling her connections with India.
The four hour long entertainment event by over 100 performers in radiant attire and colours delighted the audience with spellbinding traditional and contemporary dance performances, followed by a fashion show and a presentation by Sydney’s Nupur Dance Group. The event concluded with a grand finale, as members of the audience joined the artistes on stage to add their own flavour to the evening.
Spicy Penrith held annually, helps build stronger bonds and connections among subcontinent communities and showcases their cultural heritage to the wider Western Sydney multicultural community. “We plan to invite other multicultural communities to participate in future Spicy Penrith events,” stated Mr Uday Kulkarni, organising committee member and President of the FAIA, while reiterating Penrith Council’s continued commitment to promote cultural diversity in Western Sydney.
Photos courtesy Roy Gunaratne