In October, thousands of people converged on The Circle at Robelle Domain for the first-ever Dandiya Night – a vibrant evening of live Hindu-inspired music, group dances, clapping ‘dandiya’ sticks, and plenty of family entertainment.
It was another successful event organised this year by the Greater Springfield Indian Association (GSIA), following February’s kite festival.
Taking place on October 7, GSIA president Mukesh Dubey said it had been a fantastic night.
“The energy, the colours, and the beats – [it] all came together to create an unforgettable experience,” he said.
Dandiya night typically occurs during the September-October equinox (normally in autumn in the northern hemisphere) – part of the Sharada Navaratri – and honours the goddess Durga, who is a facet of the supreme goddess Adi Parashakti.
Although styles of celebration vary, dancing in circles (‘Garba’) and striking special ‘Dandiya’ sticks together is common – and that was certainly the case this time.
Everyone of all ages, cultures, backgrounds, and identities were invited from 4pm and encouraged to take part in the dancing (including simple tutorials), food, and drink.
Dynamic emcee duo Siddharth Nagpurkar and Purvie Dubey welcomed performers such as Brissy Beats Chenda and Gujju Pathaka to the big stage, and energised crowds as the night wore on.
One lively dancer in the crowd was Jordan MP Charis Mullen, who frequently could be seen in her fittingly bright floral saree, joining in the Garba circles and clapping Dandiya sticks.
“Over 3,000 locals and visitors from across the region gathered in the Robelle Domain Parklands tonight for a fantastic night of music and so much dancing,” Ms Mullen said the following day.
“Congratulations to GSIA for organising such an incredible event in our community.”
Another eager participant was Philippines-Australia Multicultural Association (PAMA) president Jomar Nieva, who took a moment to explain the meaning of the Dandiya sticks.
“It’s an all-night dance event where, in this dance, one circle encloses the other, and the two revolve in opposite directions,” Jomar said.
“It takes its name from the “dandiya” (Hindi for “sticks”) that dancers wield and strike together as they move. These are meant to represent the sword with which the Hindu goddess Durga vanquished the demon king Mahishasura.”
Maa Sarada’s Kitchen – the soup kitchen at Springfield’s charitable Vedanta Centre – had one of the many food stalls on the night.
Mr Dubey was quick to praise event sponsors and volunteers.
“Your hard work, dedication, and passion were the driving force behind the grand success of this event,” Mr Dubey said on Facebook.
“GSIA extends its warmest gratitude to each and every one of you for your tireless efforts. Your commitment to preserving and celebrating our Indian culture and heritage shines brightly.”
He made special note of the children performers – whom he said “stole the show”.
“Their energy, enthusiasm, and talent lit up the dance floor. Kudos to all the young stars and their dedicated instructors for putting on such an amazing show!”
For more information about or to volunteer or sponsor with GSIA, visit gsindianassociation.org.
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