Last weekend, M and I attended the Auckland Diwali Festival on the invitation of one of my coworkers. Diwali is the Hindu festival of lights which celebrates (according to Wikipedia) the victory of light over darkness and good over evil. The Auckland festival, spread over 2 days, featured tons of vegetarian food stalls, henna tattoos, fireworks and lots and lots of dancing. Most people at the festival gathered around the main stage which featured constant dance performances.
According to my coworker, people at the festival cheered mainly for dances from their home region of India; by the sounds of it, most people (including my coworker) were from Punjab. These dances– giddha for women and bhangra for men– were definitely the most energetic dances we saw, with the performers spending at least five minutes in continuous, fast-paced motion.
The highlight of the event for us (besides the delicious naan bread stuffed with spicy chickpeas and sauce) was a bhangra performance by members of the Auckland police department! We left before the fireworks, but it was a fun evening out.