Festival of Chariots in Brisbane on 9th May 2015


Festival of Chariots in Brisbane on 9th May 2015

Street Parade Leaves Queens Park at 10:30AM

  • Venue: King George Square, Brisbane
  • Date: 9th May 2015
  • Time: 11AM to 4PM

About the Event

The Festival of Chariots is one of the oldest and continuously celebrated festivals in the world. It involves the pulling of large chariots through city streets, and is coming through the streets of Brisbane CBD on May 9th this year.

The procession culminates in a free, community festival in the prestigious King George Square. The culture and spirit of life is represented through a variety of artistic forms, free entertainment and healthy vegetarian meals. There is something that reaches out to everyone – crossing all barriers of age, ethnicity, gender and cultural background. It is a celebration of the vibrancy and diversity of Brisbane, organized by volunteers of Hare Krishna Food For Life, the charitable arm of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON).

The Festival

The festival encompasses a community spirit and is catered to people from all walks of life. These are some of the activities that were present in last year’s festival:

  • Cooking demonstrations
  • Free Ayurvedic health consultations
  • Face painting and henna
  • Children’s activities
  • Fashion boutiques
  • Card readings
  • Free vegetarian meals

This year we have arranged for all the above, and also added a few more activities to engage and entertain everyone who attends.

From a Historical Perspective

The Festival of Chariots, or Rathayatra, originated in India over 2000 years ago, in the Eastern state of Orissa. It is a grand procession with much fanfare – colours, music and an atmosphere of peace and positivity. It symbolizes a procession of peace and cohesion – bringing people of all backgrounds together for the one purpose of pulling a royal chariot through the streets. Atop the chariot sits the Lord of The Universe, who comes out to greet the people of the street. This festival is unique in that it delivers to the people. Rather than people coming to the festival, the festival comes to the people.
The first chariot parade outside of India was held in San Francisco in 1967. A few young men inspired by Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada—founder of ISKCON – created a makeshift chariot on the back of their ute. The festival captured the hearts of the Swami’s followers. The following years they began constructing more traditional chariots: large wooden structures decorated with canopies and flags.

Since this time, the Festival of Chariots has been celebrated all over the world from New York to Paris, Denmark to London, Rome to Moscow, and has grown to become one of the world’s most captivating spiritual events.

The Significance

In a world where everything has a price, there is little that is available for free. People are always pursuing one intangible goal, and will go any length to achieve this – happiness. The hallmark of The Festival of Chariots is to freely give this happiness to people. Throughout the chariot procession, onlookers are encouraged to come forward and partake in the pulling of the chariot, it symbolizes their role in the festival – an event for the people, by the people.

Our mission is to give back to the community that we have been part of for over twenty years now, through an event that embraces diversity and culture. Brisbane has been home to a growing community of ISKCON, and the Festival of Chariots is perhaps our most significant annual celebration of sharing with the wider Brisbane community.

Who We Are

Volunteers from Hare Krishna Food For Life, the charitable branch of ISKCON, organize the Festival of Chariots. The team is experienced and passionate already having facilitated many events in the greater Brisbane community such as;

  • Golden Moon Festival in Forest Lake
  • Spring Flare in St Lucia
  • Cultural parades at the G20 Summit
  • Travelling show of Le Carnaval Spirituel

More Information

For further information, enquiries, sponsorship opportunities, photographs or media-related questions, please contact: info@festivalofchariots.com.au or visit www.festivalofchariots.com.au

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