Strength through cultural and religious unity

A combination of cultures, religions and traditions was celebrated at the weekend in the form of a community festival recognising the end of Ramadan.

About 300 people flocked to Traralgon’s sports stadium on Saturday to take part in the traditionally Muslim celebration, with a variety of activities on offer.

The Eid Festival came about from a collaborative effort between the United Muslim Sisters of the Latrobe Valley and Relationships Australia Victoria – Traralgon centre.

UMSLV president Arfa Khan said it was a positive day for all involved, with the aim to create unity among people of all backgrounds.

“In the society and the country where we live, love and peace should prevail,” Ms Khan said.

“People meet each other, once they get to know each other, they find out everyone is the same.

“We have different beliefs, but normal day things are all the same… our children issues, household chores and all the complaints are the same.”

To celebrate Eid, which marks the end of the Islamic holy month of fasting, the UMSLV invited the broader community to enjoy a day of festivities.

People travelled from across Gippsland to enjoy the face painting, animal farms and multicultural food on offer.

Relationships Australia Victoria community liaison officer Bianca Pezzutto said she saw some beautiful experiences of people of all backgrounds beginning conversations.

“We had people who were certainly having a good time and experiencing the positive environment rather than all of this negative stuff that’s out there at the moment,” Ms Pezzutto said.

Resounding feedback was a desire for the Eid Festival to be a regular event in the area, with a grant application now underway to hold future festivals.

Ms Pezzutto welcomed suggestions or ideas Relationships Australia Victoria could support, with the organisation’s focus on developing and maintaining healthy relationships.

“Our role is to help individuals, couples and families, as well as communities, maintain and develop healthy relationships,” Ms Pezzutto said.

“We really want the community to be getting along, to be establishing healthy relationships. We need healthy relationships in order to live a happy and healthy life.”