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by Claire Allison

This year’s Diwali celebration in Timaru is promising to be a multicultural event, and 500 to 600 people are expected to attend.

It is promoted as a Festival of Lights in a global village and members of the South Canterbury Indian Cultural Society will be joined by people from many cultures and faiths, including the Scottish Pipe Band, the Tongan and Philippine communities, and the Maori community.

The November 23 event will be held at the SBS Event Centre in Morgans Rd.

The venue reflects the growing popularity of the festival in South Canterbury.

Eight years ago, organisers held Diwali in the Oceanview Heights School hall, then had to move to the Timaru Boys’ High School hall, and then to the Event Centre.

Organisers say while the event has its roots as a Hindu festival, Diwali has expanded well beyond that, with messages of peace and brotherhood making it relevant for the whole community.

The event will begin at 5pm with an Indian meal, giving people the chance to eat and mingle before the Diwali programme begins at 6pm.

“We’re calling people to come together and celebrate. Diwali doesn’t just belong to the Indian Cultural Society, it belongs to South Canterbury.”

Tickets for the event are available from locations around Timaru. There will be no door sales.