More than 50 families from the Bundaberg Indian Malayalee Association (BIMA) came together to celebrate Christmas at the Bundaberg Civic Centre on Saturday.
Christian Indian women and children were dressed in vibrant coloured gowns with dazzling sequins recognising their culture as they celebrated Christmas with loved ones in the Bundaberg Region.
The Bundaberg Indian Malayalee Association Christmas celebration included everything from the traditional Christian margamkali dance to a feast of Indian foods.
Organising the BIMA Christmas celebration evening, Dr Jaimon Mathew said in India states were divided by the language spoken, and the majority of the people at the Christmas celebration spoke Malayalee but the event also included people who spoke other Indian languages.
“We have a few who belong to North India and they speak another language but tonight it doesn’t matter, we are all here to celebrate one thing and that’s Christmas,” Dr Mathew said.
“We have been having these celebrations for five or six years, but only last year did we form as an incorporation.”
He said the Bundaberg Indian Malayalee Association Christmas and New Year celebration was one of the biggest events for Bundaberg’s Indian community.
“Because we are all away from home it’s an occasion to bring people together and share the love,” he said.
“There are 56 families here tonight and it continues to grow.”
Bundaberg's strong sense of community shared
Attending the Bundaberg Indian Malayalee Association Christmas event, Bundaberg Region Mayor Jack Dempsey said it was wonderful to be invited to share in the local Indian culture and help celebrate Christmas.
“We as a community send best wishes to all other family members and loved ones who are away from us during this Christmas period,” Mayor Dempsey said.
“As a community we are even stronger because of our diversity … the Indian community is not just colourful but passionate and enthusiastic.
“They celebrate their culture and language. The greatest gift India gives to not only Bundaberg, but the world, is its people.”
The BIMA Christmas opened with the Indian tradition of the lighting of the lamp and finished with full bellies and a stronger sense of community.