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Monday, 31 October 2011
Page: 12155

Ms OWENS (Parramatta) (10:58): Today I rise to wish my local Hindu community a happy Diwali—a festival observed by over one billion people around the world including around 7,000 Hindus in my electorate mainly of Indian, Sri Lankan and Bengali backgrounds. Diwali literally means 'row of lights' and is often known as the festival of lights. It is celebrated on the new moon day of the Hindu month of Kartik.

Diwali celebrations, dating back many thousands of years, depict the victory of good over evil, knowledge over ignorance and light over darkness. During the festival of Diwali, Lord Ganesha, Goddess Kali and Goddess Lakshmi are worshiped by devotees. Homes in Parramatta are decorated with lanterns, traditional motif, bells, flowers and wall hangings. Homes are filled with traditional Indian sweets which are given as gifts to visitors. It is a fine time to doorknock. I would like to thank many members of the Hindu community, including Councillor Prabir Maitra, Meena Wahil, Harry Walia, Councillor Vasee Rajadurai, Dr Ashit Maitra and Dr Manomohan for helping me acknowledge the Hindu community in my electorate at this very special time.

This year Deepavali coincides with Paramasala, which is the biggest subcontinent festival in Australia. The festival started yesterday and it brings together people from all over the country and the world in a diverse program, including music, dance, theatre, film and visual art from all around the world. Best of all, it is held right near my home in Parramatta. The festival kicks off with the Diwali fair, which transforms Parramatta Stadium into a sight to see with thousands of coloured lights, dozens of delicious foods and exotic handcraft stalls, music and community entertainment. It continues through a multitude of events day and night for a full week. I was very disappointed to see that we were sitting this week, in fact, because it is one of my favourite festivals of the year.

The Hindu community in Parramatta is a vibrant one and with celebrations like Diwali they add energy and life to Parramatta and deepen the rich cultural fabric of our society. It is a humbling experience to be associated with a festival that goes back over 5,000 years and it is a privilege to have such a proactive community within my electorate and I appreciate their invitation to share this very significant event in the year with them. They have a very positive impact on Parramatta and make it a much richer place to live.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Hon. Peter Slipper ): Order! In accordance with standing order 193 the time for constituency statements has concluded.