CELEBRATING IN COLOUR

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By Sheree Grinter

I didn’t know what to expect. I wasn’t prepared to stay all day. I just thought it would be similar to other community festivals. What my children and I experienced though, made me feel proud to be a resident of this incredibly diverse community.”

Why WE Celebrate

There are more than 135 cultures represented in the City of Maribyrnong, with more than 70 per cent of residents having at least one parent born overseas. That: is something to celebrate.

Long gone are the days of ‘assimilate or perish’; we know now the strength of sharing our cultural food, ceremonies, and beliefs with others. Both as individuals and collectively, we become so much larger. In sharing those things that make us different, we broaden awareness and open up new frontiers of thinking and inclusion. And with this, we come to develop understanding; respect; harmony.

Not surprisingly, in a far broader sense than purely cultural.

There’s a growing body of evidence too, recognising that access to genuine, inclusive and diverse social interactions positively impacts our physical and mental health and wellbeing.

And nowhere is our social connection, or lack thereof, more prominent than in our youth, our childbearing years, and in older age – these are the epochs that strip away the rhetoric and expose us to our communal truth. Show me, for instance, a community that resolutely values its young people (the rebel rousers and outside the boxers included); that lets parents feel that they, and their children, are universally cared for; that continues to see people as unique, diverse and valuable well into their old age. And I’ll show you somewhere worth living.

With this in mind, West Footscray Neighbourhood House, for more than 25 years, has centred its work around opportunities for connection, with cultural events and festivals a much-loved feature of the year.

Take it from us; there is very little better than dancing on the street – reclaiming our urban spaces and breathing life into them.

Putting ‘people’ front and centre in our communal landscape.

If you’re yet to experience West Footscray Festival of Colours, then you’ll want to mark down the date. West Footscray’s community spirit is renowned, and we love a party. So what could be better than one that includes the food, dance and merriment of the many cultures that call the area home?

The ever-popular ‘throwing of the colours’ is a nod to the valuable contribution made to the area by the local Indian community, and not to be missed. It has come to be a highlight of an already vibrant and celebratory event – uniting us as equal, despite our many differences and qualities.

Diverse, yet united. ‘We are one’ never felt so good.

West Footscray Festival of Colours Sunday 25 February 2018 11am–6pm Barkly Village, West Footscray

Web: Festivalofcolours.org.au
Facebook: Facebook.com/westfootscrayfestivalofcolours
Instagram:#wefofestivalofcolours

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