The Hare Krishna Festival of Chariots is set to traipse through the Brisbane CBD this April, bringing with it a burst of spirituality and culture.
The 28th of April will see the Hare Krishna community, accompanied by celebrating participants from across Brisbane, parade a giant wooden colourfully decorated chariot through the streets of the city. The Festival of Chariots, which began in India 5,000 years ago, is a spiritual event that involves pulling giant statues of deities through the city. It is symbolic of Krishna coming out of his temple to see His people, and the Hare Krishna community has brought all the cultural and spiritual significance, as well as the colour, sound, and excitement, to the Brisbane Festival.
Dominik Luczak, organizer of the Brisbane Festival, spoke about the origins of the festival and his involvement, and why he thinks it’s such an important event for Brisbane and the community.
“I met Krishna devotees in Poland, where I’m from. I ended up travelling the world and experiencing the energy and celebration of the Festival of Chariots, and I became very fascinated with it, “ Dominik said.
“I’d constructed one chariot in Poland years back for our local community, so when I moved to Brisbane in 2008 I was surprised that there was no Festival happening here. Brisbane has a wonderfully vibrant multicultural character with so many festivals happening like Buddha’s Birthday, and the Paniyiri festival.
“My organisation, being rooted in the Indian culture, philosophy and tradition has a lot to share with others, and in 2014 with a few friends we organized the first Festival of Chariots in the Brisbane CBD.”
The 2018 Brisbane Festival of Chariots is the biggest yet, with two parts and a myriad of cultural and participatory events.
Starting in King George Square at 11.30am, everyone will help to pull the giant chariot through the streets of Brisbane accompanied by singing and dancing.
The Festival will then head back to King George Square with the chariot and continue to celebrate until 4.00pm in the afternoon. There will be stage performances of drama, dance, music and talks, as well as cooking courses and craft tents. Also on offer are henna, face painting, and delicious free meals from Hare Krishna’s own Govinda’s Vegetarian restaurant for all festival participants.
There will also be cultural and spiritual exhibition tents, showcasing the richness of the Hare Krishna community and the culture they are rooted in.
For Dominik, the Festival is an important way to foster community engagement with other cultures and forms of spirituality.
“At the end of the day the idea of the Festival is to have people come together and spend time with their families. We want participants to have fun pulling the chariot, and we want them to see and experience new and exciting things and enjoy the range of cultural activities on offer.
“We’re looking forward to having more people come this year than ever before, and experiencing the life, colour, and vibrancy of Hare Krishna and Indian culture.
“We get more excited every year!”