Big Splash Down Under
From (Lto R) 1. Sally Watts and Friends 2.Holi dance at Temple
The long queues at the food stalls for variety of sumptuous food, kiddies rides including the most popular camel ride and non-stop dancing by the participants to the beats of DJ Ash and DJ Uday with hundreds of performers on the stage of various age groups. Almost 70 children below the age of 12 participated in the cultural program, representing the dances from different regions of India. The Member of Parliament, Steve Dimopoulos, turned up with the Mayor of Melbourne and many councilors and made the usual speeches about goodwill and good times. The previous week, a mela was arranged at four places. Some creative Aussies have named Holi as colour festival and charge an Entry Fee of A$60 each, and colour cost A$10 for a small packet. The Hindu festivals were free. The attractions included DJs, dances, camel ride, food stalls and were enjoyed by thousands. Many Aussies also played Holi in temples free of charge. Local councils and the police contributed a lot. Holi may have overtaken Diwali in Melbourne now. This is simply due to the fun factor enjoyed by Aussies.
Up to 2005, Holi was not a major celebration. Over the years, it has grown in size and variety. This is the first year, it has gone really big. The Aussies have been introduced to Holi by giving the example of the La Tomatina festival in East Spain.