Multicultural Festival is back

In celebration of Cultural Diversity Week, Victoria’s Multicultural Festival once again makes a return to Federation Square on Saturday, March 25.

Proudly presented by the Victorian Multicultural Commission (VMC), this is the 15th annual celebration of our multiculturalism. The festival attracts more than 45,000 visitors every year, so come and be part of the party.

This year’s theme is “Our journey, Our stories”. 66 per cent of the CBD’s residents were born overseas, and 55 per cent speak another language at home, but all of us are invited to attend the festival and share our stories of identity, ancestry and culture.

The festival kicks off at midday and a feast of international cuisine, music and dance will be on offer until 5pm. There’ll be a bunch of activities and roving performances to keep the little ones busy too.

From 5pm – 7pm, a festival first will take place in the form of the VMC Film Festival. The Film Festival asks young Victorians to create a film based on their perspective and understanding of multiculturalism.

There are two competition categories, one for under 25s and one for over 25s. The theme is “Same, same but different: Is there more that unites us than divides us?”  The short films don’t have to be made in a production studio, just pick up your phone or your video camera and start filming.

Finalists and judges’ favourites will be shown at the Multicultural Festival. Visit www.culturaldiversityweek.vic.gov.au/get-involved for more information on how to enter.

7pm – 9pm is when the live music performances take place. Get up and dance to songs from all around the world.

Also in celebration of Cultural Diversity Week is the Premier’s Gala Dinner on Saturday, March 18.

More than 1400 people will attend the official launch of Cultural Diversity Week and enjoy an array of Victoria’s best multicultural musicians, dancers and cuisines.

Standard tickets are $180 per person, however the VMC offers subsidised tickets for $90 each. Subsidised prices are available to community organisations, seniors groups and members of new and emerging communities.

For more information on tickets and availability, visit www. culturaldiversityweek.vic.gov.au/whats-on/gala-dinner/

Another way to get involved with Cultural Diversity Week is to host your own event. The VMC encourages all Victorians to host a storytelling event. You don’t need anything fancy – just people and their stories. It could be during morning tea at work or at a community club night.

Suggestions for storytelling themes include “Unpack your suitcase”, an opportunity for you to tell your story of migration to Victoria, beginning with what you packed in your suitcase.

Another suggested theme is “What’s in a name?”. This theme explores how a name can reflect the cultural and religious history of someone’s family name and how that is a part of their identity.

Lastly, “I remember” is a theme that allows people to share a special memory that symbolises cultural heritage. For example, you could speak about the rosary beads given to you by your grandmother or a traditional head dress passed on through generations. Whatever it is, share your story!

You can submit your event at www.culturaldiversityweek.vic.gov.au/get-involved/host-an-event/

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