Sydney (Report by Tribune International); Over 20 thousand people at Sydney Showground Olympic Park and Over 10 thousand people at Sandown Racecourse, Springvale (Melbourne) made Chand Raat Eid Festival (CREF) a nationa
ventin Australia.In Sydney, the massive venue comprising of three pavilions, Paddington Pavillion, Downes Pavillion and Horden Lawns & Orana Parade accommodated thousands of people at one time. The people loved the two massive undercover venues Paddington Hall and Downes Pavillion making the comfortable and easy accessible and un-interrupted activities during unstable weather while the large & grassy Horden Lawns for entertainment activities where a huge stage and stalls of children attractions were placed created a wonderful atmosphere of Chand Raat. The amusements and rides were placed at Orana Parade where hundreds of children and adults enjoyed with exciting rides and games.
Despite the wet weather (showers in intervals), families were coming in groups from various parts of the New South Wales and Canberra. The people were pouring from the entrance specially when the rain stopped around 7.30pm and at 9.00pm the buzz of excitement of Chand Raat by the massive crowd at Sydney Showground was something unforgettable. The SBS Television World News in her 6.30pm live news and at 9.30pm news called the event as the largest Chand Raat in Australia.
The festive mood of the crowd was evident as hundreds queued up to devour on the mouth-watering food stalls at the Downes Pavillion, and thousands of people visited Paddington Hall especially women to shop from variety of 150 stalls from clothing, jewellery, shoes, cosmetics, bangles, henna painting to kitchenware, computer-ware and electronic accessories. The business promotional stalls outside Paddington especially our partner Transport Maritime NSW (A Lifejacket Never Ruined a Day in the Water) and our major sponsors like Western Union, Jadoo TV, Australian Federal Government Organ & Tissue Authority, MoneyGram, and Training & Education (local & international colleges), Immigration Agents, Accountants,
Community & Welfare Organisations, Political Parties were throwing free gifts & vouchers and providing valuable information of their products & services to the visitors.
Despite of the showers in intervals, the people especially the youth were standing and dancing in front of the entertainment stage where singers, comedians, folk dance groups were entertaining the audience with their amazing performances. Maritime Transport of New South Wales brought a life-saving jacket demonstration which was run by famous comedian Sam McCool.
To ensure that the event ran smoothly the time allocated to the official ceremony and entertainment was altered, and the format was changed to allow some segments to commence early. The Honourable speakers, Victor Dominello Minister for Citizenship and Communities & Aboriginal Affairs, Honourable Julie Owens Federal Member Parliament, Honourable Laurie Ferguson Federal Member Parliament, and the officials from Australian Federal Government, Organ & Tissue Authority delivered their Chand Raat messages to the audience when the showers stopped. Consul General of Pakistan Mr. Abdul Aziz Uqaili mentioned in his speech that he was proud that
Pakistani-Australians have played a part in building this event and making it a unique multicultural national event on the Australian calendar where everyone is welcomed. He particularly, thanked Syed Atiq ul Hassan and Mrs Surraya Hassan and their team for holding successful mega event every year. In all of their speeches the distinguished guests also admired the association of the visitors with the CREF and were amazed at the enthusiasm of the thousands attendees that came despite of the weather.
As Chand Raat festivities ended in New South Wales, the momentum of the people of Victoria started building up as they watched the CREF Sydney event on their television sets and listened to the success on their local radio stations.
In Melbourne, the clear skies, bright and sunny weather brought more than 10 thousand people to the beautiful Sandown Racecourse in Springvale. The various ethnic communities and locals came from far distances to take part in the Eid festivities with hundreds already queuing outside the gates before 2pm (opening time) mentioning that they were eagerly waiting for the CREF to arrive to Victoria.
The Melbourne official ceremony included government officials, community leaders and special guests including MasterChef contestant Ms. Faiza Rahman.
Honourable Senator Kate Lundy, Minister for Multicultural Affairs, representing Australian Prime Minister in her speech said that she was delighted that the event was being held in Melbourne this year and said the people of Victoria would have the chance to experience the colour and spirit of Chand Raat tradition.
‘Judging from the crowds here this evening I am sure the Festival will also become a highlight of Melbourne’s cultural calendar….I congratulate the organising committee on the continuing success of the Chand Raat Eid Festival and thank them for all their hard work in bringing the event to Melbourne…The atmosphere of today’s Festival is certainly one of community harmony and unity, and I am proud to be a part of this testament to our continuing success as a multicultural society’said Honourable Senator Kate Lundy, Minister for Multicultural Affairs.
The melodies of Sydney-based Sugam Sangeet Band and Sargam Orchestra mesmerized the audience in Sydney and Melbourne. The amazing voices of the talented singers including Mayank Sharma, Lalit Mishra, Chaurismita Chakraboty, Priya Das left the audiences humming to their tunes.
In Melbourne, a special stage in an outdoor van was setup by SBS where SBS radio’s Urdu presenter Mr Rana Shahid Javed, Punjabi presenter Ms Manpreet Singh & Pashto presenter Mr Abdullah Alikhil conducted with interviews with members of the public and special giveaways.
Syed Atiq ul Hassan, the Director, CREF 2013 in his speech in Sydney thanked to all distinguished guest present at Sydney event. He also thanked to all sponsors, stallholders, volunteers, security staff and venue’s management who came together all the way and demonstrated an excellent example of team work which brought Sydney’ event another landmark success. He said that he promised last year that he and his team would take CREF on another level and they have now taken the CREF to
Melbourne and one day it will be a proud national event for all Australians. In his speech in Melbourne, he thanked to Melbourne who welcomed the team of CREF. He thanked to Honourable Kate Lundy the Federal Minister for Multicultural Affairs, other distinguished guest, , Victorian Multicultural Commission, and also to the venue’s management, volunteers, security staff, logistics suppliers who gave tremendous help and support in organising such a successful event in the first year. Mr. Hassan also thanked to Pakistan groups particularly Mr Ali Awan who put in significant efforts in holding the event, he has also received CREF award from the CREF Management.
Mr Hassan said that Insha_Allah he and his team will continue to organise CREF in Melbourne every year with the support of local people and groups.
The CREF has become a very special long awaited annual event where many renowned South Asian community and local leaders participate. The event engages multicultural communities and broad Australians across New South Wales and
stretching out to its greater boundaries. The CREF enriches the experience of Eid Eve Celebrations (Chand Raat) in Australia. The Festival presents exuberant cultural display of multicultural Australia and bringing Australian diverse community together to share their joys, happiness and friendship. It captures the optimistic spirit of the Eid Eve Celebrations and Eid Festivity, creating a welcoming and uniquely a year-waiting meeting occasion for the families. It is an open event for everyone without any religious or cultural boundaries.
CREF has reflected Australia a true home for the people of different background, colour, race and belief. Growing cultural, religious and traditional events of Asians to Americans and Indians to African communities have opened the ways for the people to get together and share their cultures, traditions, thoughts and beliefs.
The more photo images and videos are being released soon for the media and will be available on www.cref.com.au, and Youtube. For any further inquiries, interviews or media release please contact Syed Atiq ul Hassan, Director, CREF 2013.