For centuries, the ancient festival of Holi has celebrated the arrival of spring and the promise of renewal and rebirth.
Though it is not spring in Australia, today Holi’s significance is broader: bringing people of all cultural backgrounds, and all walks of life, together in a carnival of joy.
As Australians, we are fortunate to live in a land that is home to a diversity of traditions, where we are free to share in and learn from the observances of other cultures.
The festival of Holi allows us to celebrate the interwoven ties between the Australian and Indian people. About 700,000 people of Indian descent call Australia home – the fastest growing diaspora in our proudly multicultural nation.
Though so different, we understand each other. Australia and India are both proud democracies, with the shared belief that the way to create the fairest society is to ensure a more prosperous society.
Our shared commitment to peace and respect is an enduring source of our national well-being. As our second Prime Minister, Alfred Deakin wrote, “The distance which separates us…is being steadily diminished between us, year by year.”
Holi is an occasion to affirm these values and to be grateful and proud of who we are. With these thoughts in mind, and in a warm spirit of friendship, I send my best wishes to everyone celebrating Holi this year.