South Bank became a multicultural stage last weekend when it hosted Brisbane on Parade and Fiesta Latina. Both are part of the G20 Cultural Celebrations.
It is rare to see so many cultural groups in one place. The Brisbane on Parade participants arrived in full costumes, side by side with their countrymen, all brimmed with a pride that was evident on their faces.
Thousands of people gathered very early and the wait was worthwhile. Leaving the Maritime Museum, the parade onlookers cheered the parade along the riverside of South Bank. Local ladies wearing boxes proudly proclaiming B R I S B A N E led the groups, and they were followed by colourful Latin dancers who made the event atmosphere even more exciting.
Particularly impressive was the array of traditional costumes. Such costumes are probably the most beautiful of all fashion items. Traditional designs capture a country’s culture and history. I’m very familiar with old-style Chinese dramas and so love the traditional dresses; in the Parade, the Chinese community dressed as members of the Imperial Palace – King, Queen and retinue. Seeing the costumes in real life was impressive.
The Indonesian group really showed their diversity by having so many different ethnic groups. I love their traditional dances. South American groups have the best dancers and their music just makes people move. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islands groups performed wonderful traditional dances. The audience could feel the energy and strength through each of their footsteps. Brisbane on Parade is a great way to showcase ATSI culture, one of the world’s oldest cultures.
Aside from the geographical cultures, the parade also had more creative groups on display. The Shaun, the Magpies, the Lamington, the Parisian plasterers and the Bucket of Prawns, just to name a few, were absolutely amazing and crazily breathtaking. Their antics and costumes kept people smiling, laughing and snapping on their phones.
When the Parade finished, people stayed on for the Fiesta Latina. I found time to enjoy a Brazilian beef feast, after a long queue. Someone asked me whether Brisbane had parade each year, I answered that it was my first time in the parade but wouldn’t it be great to have the parade as an annual event that brought such diverse communities together?
Words by Han Huynh | Images Sam Navin