Ms VAGHELA (Western Metropolitan): On 13 or 14 January every year Indians across the world celebrate the Makar Sankranti, Pongal and Lohri festivals to celebrate the harvest and to mark the end of winter. Makar Sankranti is a celebrated all across India with many regional variations. These festivals are a wonderful way to celebrate our diverse traditions. Community groups of Western Metropolitan Region celebrated this occasion with enthusiasm.
I attended the kite festival at the SMVS Swaminarayan temple in Tarneit. It was great to see the colourful display of the kites in the sky. Kite flying has been a regional event for several years as part of Makar Sankranti celebrations and is a major festival in Gujarat. I also attended the Lohri celebration in Hoppers Crossing, hosted by the Western Gymkhana Club, where everybody danced to the beats of the dhol, a type of Indian double-headed drum. Lohri is celebrated in northern India, primarily in the Punjab, Haryana and Delhi regions. It celebrates the days getting longer as the sun proceeds on its northward journey. I also celebrated a Sankranti Sambaralu event with the Telugu Association of Australia in Altona North. There was music, food and happiness, which made it a perfect occasion for the hundreds of people present to enjoy with their families at this mega event.
These celebrations are an excellent example of Victoria’s rich diversity and a great way of bringing our community together to embrace our multiculturalism.