Multicultural audience events are intrinsic to the life of every migrant in Australia, along with their children and their children’s children. Whether you speak a language other than English, were born overseas or have ancestral roots in another country – the link to culture is one that continues to thrive (no matter how long you’ve lived in Australia). Using cultural insights to effectively engage with these audiences, at the grass-root level, can be the difference between simply reaching them, versus giving them a reason to believe in your brand or product.
It’s been 40 years since the film Deewar hit the big screens, yet even today, those words are intensely moving and resonate deeply among us. If you’re Indian or South-Asian no less, the profundity of the words may be enough to make you think you’re in the scene with Shashi Kapoor and Amitabh Bachchan (two major Bollywood powerhouses) themselves!
That’s Bollywood for you. But one thing our film industry has been able to capture uncompromisingly is the role of the Mother. Mothers are revered in South-Asian culture and play a central role in the family (as indeed they do in many cultures around the world). We learn from an early age that everything begins and ends with her. She is our ultimate teacher, protector and source of love there is and ever will be. She is Ma, Amma, Mai, Ammee, Mom.
Much like any country has their iconic festivals — La Tomatina Festival in Spain, Oktoberfest in Germany or even The Carnival in Rio, India has Holi — the closest we Indians come to having a raucous public party. As this colourful and exuberant festival nears in 2013, we’ve compiled a list of top five interesting facts to get you up to speed:
Diwali or Deepavali is popularly known as the “festival of lights” and is the most important and biggest of all Hindu Festivals. It is like Christmas for the Indian community. For an Indian business owner it would be the start of a new financial calendar. The festival is normally marked by four days of celebration and literally illumines India with its brilliance, and dazzles all Indians with its joy. Each of the four days of Diwali is separated by a different tradition, but what remains true and constant is the celebration of life, its enjoyment and goodness.
The Origin of Diwali
Historically, the origin of Diwali can be traced back to ancient India, when it was most likely an important harvest festival. Some believe it to be the celebration of the marriage of Lakshmi with Lord Vishnu. Others consider it to be a celebration of the return of Lord Rama from exile.
Four Days of Diwali
Each day of Diwali has its own tale, legend and myth to tell. The first day of the festival marks the vanquishing of the demon Naraka by Lord Krishna and his wife Satyabhama. The second day of Deepavali, marks the worship of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth in her most benevolent mood, fulfilling the wishes of her devotees. Amavasya also tells the story of Lord Vishnu, who in his dwarf incarnation vanquished the tyrant Bali, and banished him to hell. Bali was allowed to return to earth once a year, to light millions of lamps to dispel the darkness and ignorance, and spread the radiance of love and wisdom. It is on the third day of Deepavali that Bali steps out of hell and rules the earth according to the boon given by Lord Vishnu. The fourth day is referred to as Yama Dvitiya (also called Bhai Dooj) and on this day sisters invite their brothers to their homes and prepare a lavish meal for them.
The Significance of Lights & Firecrackers
The illumination of homes with lights and the skies with firecrackers evoke the blessings of the Gods for the attainment of wealth, knowledge, peace and prosperity. Another possible reason has a more scientific basis: the fumes produced by the crackers kill a lot of insects and mosquitoes, found in plenty after the rains.
The Tradition of Gambling
The tradition of gambling on Diwali also has a legend behind it. It is believed that on this day, Goddess Parvati played dice with her husband Lord Shiva, and she decreed that whosoever gambled on Diwali night would prosper throughout the ensuing year. Diwali is therefore associated with wealth and prosperity.
From Darkness Unto Light…
In each legend, myth and story of Deepavali lies the significance of the victory of good over evil. Truth finds new reason and hope in the coming year. From darkness unto light — the light that empowers us to commit ourselves to good deeds, that which brings us closer to divinity.
A perfect time for marketing
Diwali is celebrated around the globe. Outside India, it is more than a Hindu festival, it’s a celebration of
South-Asian identities. Festivals are organised and celebrated in Australia too. These festivals are a great platform for marketing to Indians. Practically every city in Australia has a Diwali fair with the Sydney Diwali Fair being held at Parramatta Stadium on the 30th of October. Come to the festival…we may just be able to do a Samosa (a popular Indian savoury) together or perhaps a Kaju Barfi (the queen among Indian sweets)!
By Sanchay Mohan