Saturday, October 24, 2009


Xstrata Greek Festival was held in Townsville on 10th and 11th October. It was the 10th anniversary of the Greek festival.

In Greek Festival there were variety of music, cultural dancing and delicious food. The Pioneer Park was filled with the unique sounds of both traditional and modern Greek music.

In Greek festival, there were plenty of competitions, children’s entertainment, rides and fireworks.

Dora the Explorer and her sidekick Boots performed on stage. A popular character with children and adults alike, performed and the children joined the fun and sang along to her familiar songs. Children took their photos with Dora in the park.

Popular Sydney band Aegean Groove, along with popular singer Maria Maroulis filled Riverway with the sounds of Greece. Everybody enjoyed an entertaining mix of traditional and modern music played on the bouzouki and lira.

Dance is a major part of the Greek culture. At Xstrata Greek Festival, there was traditional and modern dance from all regions of Greece and even a great selection of belly dancing. I was thrilled to see the fantastic costumes which were exclusive to each region and the meticulous craftsmanship which made them so unique.

Exquisite costumes and interesting dances kept everybody spellbound. Three groups performed dances from many regions of Greece, including Thrace, Macedonia, the Greek Islands and central Greece.

The traditional Greek dancing with the Hellenic Dancers took place and everybody got their hips gyrating when we tried to do belly dancing with the fantastic Scimitar Moon Belly Dancers.

Master Chef celebrity Geni took us on a culinary journey in the new outdoor Greek Festival IGA Kouzina (kitchen), where she taught the art of fantastic Greek cooking - entrees, mains and desserts. The plate smashing challenge took place and we enjoyed very much.

Other competitions held throughout the festival included Grape Stomping, Olive Spitting Challenge and dancing competitions. There were a huge range of rides for young and old to enjoy like Dodgem Cars, Super Swing, Roller Coaster, Double Bubble, Ferris wheel, Super Slide, Shooting Gallery and Laughing Clowns.

Melville's Animal Farm was brought in the festival and the children enjoyed patting the baby animals. Face Painting was available all day to add some colour to the day. The balloon artist entertained the children with their fun balloon creations.

There were delicious and different types of food like –

• Baby Octopus and chips

• Calamari and chips – Deep fried calamari with lemon and hot chips

• Fish and chips – A single piece of battered fish with hot chips

• Souvlakia – Skewer of Grilled lamb and chicken pieces marinated in oregano, olive oil and lemon • Yiros – A greek wrap made on grilled pita bread with lamb, lettuce, tomato, onion and tsatziki • Soudsoukakia – Spiced mince rissoles in tomato salsa

• Kokinisto Makaronia – Pasta cooked with Greek mince sauce

• Spanakopites – Spinach and cheese triangles with flaky pastry • Eliniko Salata – Lettuce layered with tomato, cucumber, onions, feta cheese, oregano and olives dressed with a Greek vinaigrette

• Greek dips with Pita bread platter • Revithokeftethes - Vegetarian chickpea rissoles • Loukoumathes (honey puffs) – balls of crispy dough smothered in honey, cinnamon and icing sugar

• Baklava – layers spiced almonds and filo pastry covered in honey

• Halva – semolina cake

• Finikia – biscuits made with orange zest and spices drizzled in honey

• Koulourakia – butter biscuits

• Kourambiethes – shortbread covered in icing sugar

It was a fantastic festival and I enjoyed very much for two days. The dance programme and the varietes of food made the Greek festival extra special.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


Diwali or Dīpāvali means a row of lamps or garland of lights. It is the most colourful Indian festival, celebrated on the Kartika Amavasya or New Moon, which falls during October/November.

Historically, the origin of Diwali can be traced back to ancient India, when it was probably an important harvest . However, there are various legends pointing to the origin of Diwali.

Some people believe that Diwali is the celebration of the marriage of Goddess Lakshmi with Lord Vishnu. Whereas in Bengal the festival is dedicated to the worship of Mother Kali, the Goddess of strength. Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed God, the symbol of auspiciousness and wisdom, is also worshipped in most Hindu homes on this day.

Deepavali is a festival of lights symbolizing the victory of righteousness and the lifting of spiritual darkness.

Diwali is celebrated as the victory of good over evil - and the glory of light. It is celebrated as the homecoming of Lord Rama after a 14-year exile in the forest and his victory over Ravana. The people of Ayodhya (the capital of his kingdom) welcomed Rama by lighting rows (avali) of lamps (dĭpa), thus its name: dīpāwali. Diwali is one of the biggest festivals of Hindus, celebrated with great enthusiasm and happiness in India.

The festival is celebrated for five continuous days, where the third days is celebrated as the main Diwali festival or 'Festival of lights'.

Different colorful varieties of fireworks are always associated with this festival. On this auspicious day, people light up diyas and candles all around their house. The Goddess of wealth, Lakshmi incarnated on the new moon day (amaavasyaa) of the Kartik month during the churning of the ocean (samudra-manthan), hence the association of Diwali with Lakshmi. People perform Laxmi Puja in the evening and seek divine blessings of Goddess of Wealth.

The festival of Diwali is never complete without exchange of gifts. People present diwali gifts to all near and dear ones.

Homes are decorated, sweets are distributed by everyone and thousands of lamps lit to create a world of fantasy.

Diwali is a time for fun and revelry. Diwali is also a time for pooja and tradition.

The festival of Diwali is celebrated by the Indians throughout the world with special enthusiasm and zeal.

Diwali is the most popular as well as liked festival in the country as well as abroad. This festival of lights brings along with itself immense enthusiasm and pleasure.

Diwali is the festival, which means celebration one after another, each day with a new philosophy.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


The Defence Force Air Display in Townsville was the eighth in the series of annual Air Shows around Australia which took place on 26th September, 2009 in Townsville to celebrate the 10th anniversary of ‘The Strand’.

The air show event was a break from the past format.

The air show display was held on The Strand over water rather than on the Royal Australia Air Force (RAAF) Base.

The air show gave a wider frontage for spectators and it drew a large crowd that gathered from surrounding regions. The big draw card for the display was the United States Air Force demonstration Team, ‘The Thunderbirds’, in six F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft. They were accompanied by two C-17 Globe master transport aircraft and two KC-10 tanker aircraft for en-route refuelling.

Featuring the United States Air Force (USAF) Air Demonstration Squadron, the ”Thunderbirds”, the Air Display also included the popular RAAF Air Demonstration Squadron the ”Roulettes”; the C-17 Globemaster; C-130H Hercules; FA-18 Hornet; Hawk 127, Army Helicopters including the Chinook, Blackhawk and MRH 90; War Birds; skydivers and the ”Red Baron”. Thousands came along to see the air show on the Strand, and the Chinook and Black Hawk helicopters even gave a chance to get covered in sand and sea water.

The Air Display took place approximately for about three hours long.

The Australian Defence Force Air Display was one of the most colourful mounted by the Air Show team since the current series commenced in 2001.

There were different types of food and amusements rides through the afternoon and evening and following the air display there was a 90 minute concert by the Air Force Band and 1st Battalion Bands.

Ground displays included the Force Ten RAAF Band; Australian Federation Guard Precision Drill Team; Townsville Pipe and Drum Band; along with rides, exhibitions and a plethora of food and drinks.

At the end of the event there was fantabulous fireworks show which took place for 30 minutes. The fireworks display was supported by the F-111’s spectacular ‘torch’ demonstration.

Everybody had a wonderful time and I was very much excited to see all the various types of flights.

The successful day’s event concluded with the F-111 performing it’s spectacular ’dump and burn’, followed by a dazzling fire works extravaganza on the foreshore. The Air Display is said to have attracted around 70,000 spectators, equivalent to roughly 40% of the population of Townsville.

I enjoyed the Air Show very much and it was a life time experience to see this wonderful show and it will be a memorable event for me.

Friday, October 2, 2009


Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born in Porbandar, a coastal town in present-day Gujarat, India, on 2nd October,1869. His father, Karamchand Gandhi (1822-1885), who belonged to the Hindu Modh community, was the diwan (Prime Minister) of the eponymous Porbander state, a small princely state in the Kathiawar Agency of British India. His grandfather's name was Uttamchand Gandhi fondly called as Utta Gandhi. His mother, Putlibai, who came from the Hindu Pranami Vaishnava community, was Karamchand's fourth wife, the first three wives having apparently died in childbirth. Growing up with a devout mother and the Jain traditions of the region, the young Mohandas absorbed early the influences that would play an important role in his adult life; these included compassion to sentient beings, vegetarianism, fasting for self-purification and mutual tolerance between individuals of different creeds.

Gandhi is commonly known around the world as Mahatma Gandhi (Mahātmā or 'Great Soul', an honorific first applied to him by Rabindranath Tagore) and in India also as Bapu ('Father').

He is officially honoured in India as the Father of the Nation; his birthday, 2 October, is commemorated there as Gandhi Jayanti, a national holiday and worldwide as the International Day of Non-Violence.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was the pre-eminent political and spiritual leader of India during the Indian Independence movement.

Gandhi was the pioneer of satyagraha—resistance to tyranny through mass civil disobedience, firmly founded upon ahimsa or total non-violence—which led India to independence and has inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world.

After assuming leadership of the Indian National Congress in 1921, Gandhi led nationwide campaigns to ease poverty, expand women's rights, build religious and ethnic amity, end untouchability and increase economic self-reliance.

Above all, he aimed to achieve Swaraj or the independence of India from foreign domination. As a practitioner of ahimsa, Gandhi swore to speak the truth and advocated that others do the same.

Gandhi lived modestly in a self-sufficient residential community and wore the traditional Indian dhoti and shawl, woven with yarn he had hand spun on a charkha. He ate simple vegetarian food and also undertook long fasts as a means of both self-purification and social protest.

At age 13, Gandhi joined Kasturba, age 12, in a marriage arranged by their parents. They had four sons: Harilal and Manilal, born in India, and Ramdas and Devdas, born in South Africa.

Gandhi studied law in London and returned to India in 1891 to practice. In 1893 he accepted a one year contract to do legal work in South Africa. At the time South Africa was controlled by the British. When he attempted to claim his rights as a British subject he was abused and soon saw that all Indians suffered similar treatment.

Gandhi stayed in South Africa for 21 years working to secure rights for Indian people. He developed a method of direct social action based upon the principles, courage, non-violence and truth called Satyagraha. He believed that the way people behave is more important than what they achieve. Satyagraha promoted non-violence and civil disobedience as the most appropriate methods for obtaining political and social goals.

In 1915 Gandhi returned to India. Within 15 years he became the leader of the Indian nationalist movement. Using the tenets of Satyagraha he led the campaign for Indian Independence from Britain. Gandhi was arrested many times by the British for his activities in South Africa and India. He believed it was honorable to go to jail for a just cause. Altogether he spent seven years in prison for his political activities. More than once Gandhi used fasting to impress upon others the need to be non-violent.

India was granted Independence in 1947 and partitioned into India and Pakistan. Rioting between Hindus and Muslims followed. Gandhi had been an advocate for a united India where Hindus and Muslims lived together in peace.

On January 13, 1948 at the age of 78, Gandhi began a fast with the purpose of stopping the bloodshed. After 5 days the opposing leaders pledged to stop the fighting and Gandhi broke his fast.

Twelve days later he was assassinated by a Hindu fanatic who opposed his program of tolerance for all creeds and religion.