The Victorian government has allocated $200,000 for the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak. Apart from funding 20 special events, iconic Melbourne landmarks will be lit up in saffron, to mark the historic occasion.
Last year, in the lead up to the state elections in Victoria, the Labor party had promised the Sikh community that it will hold the biggest celebrations outside of India, to mark the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak.
A Sikh Celebrations and Events Fund was created after Premier Daniel Andrews was re-elected and many metropolitan and regional Sikh organisations applied for the funding.
Announcing the outcome of the funding today, Victoria's Minister for Multicultural Affairs Richard Wynne confirmed that 18 organising groups will share in $200,000, to hold a range of events throughout October and November in 2019.
“Throughout October and November, Sikh Victorians and the broader community can celebrate, commemorate and learn more about this important figure – I encourage everyone to find an event near them and take part,” he said.
The events being supported by the state government are spread across the city and suburbs of Melbourne, as well as in regional towns like Bendigo, Shepparton and Geelong.
On November 12, buildings and landmarks around Melbourne will also be illuminated in saffron light in honour of Guru Nanak's 550th birth anniversary. This will include the Bolte Bridge, the Arts Centre, Melbourne Museum and AAMI Stadium.
Victoria is home to Australia’s largest Sikh community, with more than 52,000 Sikh Victorians recorded in the 2016 Census.
Mr Wynne said, "We promised we would support Guru Nanak celebrations – and I’m delighted to be delivering on that promise today."
Other events and projects that have received a nod from the state government include:
• The Humanity Walk in the Melbourne CBD, with 20,000 Victorians expected to attend
• Geelong’s Humanity Walk, with participants walking from Rippleside Park to Steampacket Gardens
• The Multicultural Community Parade to be held in Bendigo on 27 October
• The Guru Nanak Sikh Society Shepparton for celebrations running from 8 to 13 November
• Punjabi Sath Melbourne, which will run the Guru Nanak Birthday Literary Function
• The Travels and Teachings of Guru Nanak Art Exhibition at RMIT University
To read the full list of events being supported by the Andrews government, click here.