Mareeba is a neighbouring village and it has a rich and diverse community with 60 different nationalities calling it home. The most commonly spoken languages, apart from English, are Italian (3.9% compared to 1.0% in Australia), Albanian, German, Croatian, Dutch, Papuan New Guinean and Spanish.
Every year the community celebrates with a Multicultural Festival. Since 1998, the annual Mareeba Multicultural Festival has grown in popularity. The first few festivals concentrated on singing, dancing and poetry. As the years have gone by, performances organised by particular ancestry groups have many members from other cultural backgrounds. This has had flow on effects in terms of friendships and networks established.
Mareeba is a showcase for the rest of Australia, particularly rural Australia for harmony, goodwill and the celebration of unity in diversity.
We made an early start to see to the cats and chooks before we left to spend a day enjoying watching the cultures showcasing their dance and music. The weather was perfect and the atmosphere friendly, groups chatting, children running around, playing and joining in with the dancing.
This group sang a selection of 6 songs each one in a different language, finishing with the emotional rendition of “We are Australian”
What a colourful collection of national costumes. Great pride was shown in the different groups showcasing their traditional dance routines and music. A large crowd appreciated the entertainment.
Not only music and dance was celebrated but also the food of the different cultures was available at stalls around the grounds.
After sitting watching the audience was invited to join in with a group performance of Zumba. The children joined in with exuberance and quite a number of adults had a go.
Finally an energetic group of Aborigine dancers took to the stage to show us their cultural dances that they have been performing for thousands of years.
It was a great day and it was free. It made me think of Ailsa’s theme for this week “play” The atmosphere of the day was people enjoying the sound and site of all the different cultures. The playing of the different music from around the world.