MELBOURNE’S events calendar is jam-packed this month with non-stop cultural activities and entertainment as part of Cultural Diversity Week celebrations. Regina Karis reports.
Hosted by the Victorian Multicultural Commission (VMC), Cultural Diversity Week is a celebration of cultural, linguistic and religious diversity across the state, and is an opportunity to explore other cultures as well as share your own.
From March 16 to 24, more than 300 events will be held across the state, including various activities, festivals, exhibitions and parades organised by schools, libraries, councils, organisations and community groups, to showcase the diversity and uniqueness of the different communities across the state.
Some highlights of the week include but are not limited to Fiesta Malaysia 2013 at Federation Square on March 16, the Turkish Pazar Festival at Queen Victoria Market 2013 on the very next day, and the Holi Festival featuring traditional Indian music and dance at Footscray on March 23.
VMC itself is also hosting two events during the week: the Premier’s Gala Dinner on Saturday, March 16, and the free event Viva Victoria Multicultural Festival on Sunday, March 24. While tickets for the Gala Dinner have sold out, the festival is free and everyone of all ages and backgrounds is invited.
A kind of closing ceremony for the Cultural Diversity Week, Viva Victoria will feature cultural workshops, art exhibitions, demonstrations, music and dance performances by some of Victoria’s finest multicultural performers, and plenty of wonderful cuisine. There will also be an arts and crafts marketplace should anyone feel like shopping for some.
Held at Federation Square, Viva Victoria has attracted over 40,000 visitors since its inception in 2009, with the number increasing every year. Here, visitors have the chance to enjoy a more casual celebration of the Victorian government’s commitment to promoting multiculturalism, harmony and tolerance, and denouncing racism.
One interesting tidbit here: PoisE’n Bollypop, a Melbourne-based hip-hop funk dance crew from RMIT, will perform an act for the Viva Victoria Festival. Established in 2000, the crew consists of mainly international students and is known for their flair of combining hip-hop and Bollywood into their own dance style.
This is not the first time Victorians are gathering to celebrate culture. Since its launch in 2002, Cultural Diversity Week has been held annually in March to coincide with the United Nations day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which falls on March 21.