The recent Zinda festival has highlighted that Bendigo is an ‘inclusive city’ and that people want to learn more about cultural diversity.
Loddon Campaspe Multicultural Services executive officer Kate McInnes said they were heartened to have seen so many people attend the festival, especially Zinda Night in the Park.
“Events like Zinda give people the chance to come and have a taster of what it means to be a multicultural city and what it means to have neighbours from all over the world,” Ms McInnes said.
“The festival gave the opportunity to meet people from different cultural backgrounds which they may not have met otherwise.
“It is the kind of thing you didn’t have in Bendigo 10 years ago, you used to have to go to Melbourne or overseas, and now we have it right here.”
The festival involved an array of celebrations which showcased the cultural diversity of the region, with the main event Zinda Night in the Park, held on March 17 in Rosalind Park.
Ms McInnes said it was fantastic to see families with young children enjoying the night and to experience the benefits of living in a culturally diverse city.
“The feedback we’ve been getting has been incredible, both from our newly arrived community members and those who have lived in Bendigo for their whole lives,” Ms McInnes said.
LMCS chair Abhishek Awasthi said Zinda Night in the Park showcased how important and inclusive cultural diversity is within the Bendigo community.
“People wanted to be there and wanted to celebrate multiculturalism with their friends and family,” Mr Awasthi said.
More than 3500 people attended the night event held in Rosalind Park which showcased multicultural music, dance, activities, food and more.
The name ‘Zinda’ translates to ‘alive’ and has universal meaning in the languages Urdu, Dari, Farsi, Bengali and Hindi.
Formerly known as the Festival of Cultures, the name was changed to Zinda in early 2018.
The Zinda Festival will return in 2019.