Turkish Pazar Festival 2016
In spite of the day being cloudy and overcast, more than 35000 people joined us at the Queen Victoria Market for the 9th Turkish Pazar Festival.
Pazar means both Sunday and market in Turkish. Visitors to the festival were able to taste a variety of Turkish foods, including everybody's favourite gözleme (savoury stuffed pancakes) and different styles of kebabs. Those who wanted a more leisurely start to the day were able to experience the culinary delights of a traditional Turkish breakfast.Stalls provided the opportunity to buy a magic Turkish carpet, colourful lamp or ceramic plate, and the traditional art of paper marbling (ebru) and other arts and crafts were also on display.
The colourful and inspirational military marching band, the Ottoman Mehter Band of Melbourne, performed traditional ceremonial music used to inspire troops in battle and celebrate victories. An all-day stage program (on two stages) featured special guest performers from Turkey, plus local musical groups and folk dancers.
Coffee Festival at the Immigration Museum
In June 2015, the Moreland Turkish Association joined with the Immigration Museum and Victoria’s Brazilian, Ethiopian, Finnish, and Vietnamese communities to celebrate all things coffee. Coffee certainly occupies an important place in the cultural and social traditions of Turkey, but participating in this Festival gave us the opportunity to learn about and witness first hand the importance of coffee in these other cultural traditions. We saw the important Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony, and learnt that coffee grains are also used for fortune telling in Finland and we enjoyed tasting the different styles of coffee. As well as coffee, food from each of these cultural traditions was available for tasting. Turkish coffee was a popular choice on the day and our volunteers were kept busy serving cups of coffee accompanied by lokum (Turkish delight) and pastries. The fortune teller was also kept busy all day as enthusiastic visitors waited in long lines to hear her predictions. As a result of this activity, we were able to forward a donation of $500 to the Royal Children’s Hospital.
Open Forum with Helen Kapalos, Chairperson of the Victorian Multicultural Commission
On 14 December 2015, Moreland Turkish Association had great pleasure in hosting Ms Helen Kapalos, recently appointed Chairperson of the Victorian Multicultural Commission at an open forum with members of the Turkish community. More than 70 people representing more than 40 Turkish businesses, organisations and media outlets attend the forum. After being welcomed by Moreland Turkish Association’s President, Mr Cemal Akdeniz, Ms Kapalos spoke of her experiences growing up as a daughter of recently arrived migrants from Greece. She then spoke of her excitement about her new position and her commitment to using it benefit and help all communities participate in and benefit from Victoria’s multicultural society. A question and answer session addressing topics such as the meaning of multiculturalism, the situation of refugees, extremism, grants, aged care, bilingual education, family violence, language support services and the importance of cultural performances concluded the evening. We would like to thank Ms Kapalos for the time she so generously spent with the community and look forward to seeing her again.
Spirit of Ramazan Iftar Meal 2014
The 20th International AIDS Conference was held in Melbourne during 20 to 25 July 2014 and coincided with the holy month of Ramazan. During Ramazan (or Ramadan), the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, believers across the world fast from sunrise to sunset by abstaining from eating, drinking, smoking and not participating ill-natured or excessive behaviour. Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam. This month is a time of self reflection, prayer and charity in which believers renew their spirituality, humility and patience. It is a time to cleanse the soul, focus attention on God and practice selflessness. It is also a time of sharing and in helping those less fortunate. One way in which this is done is in communal sharing of the breaking of the fast meal, İftar, at sunset. The ‘street’ İftar often seen in Turkey begins with drummers calling people to share a free meal, often provided by local government or a charitable institution.
Visit to the Budj Bim National Heritage Landscape
In December 2014, members of Moreland Turkish Association visited the Lake Condah area as guests of the Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owner Aboriginal Corporation. Over an exciting two days, our Association members and representatives of the Gunditjmara people enjoyed the opportunity to share our cultures and exchange information about our customs and traditions.
After a leisurely drive from Melbourne, we were welcomed to the Tyrendarra Indigenous Protection Area by our guide Denis Rose. The spectacular stony, volcanic landscape, bisected by the sparkling clean flow of Darlot’s Creek was created by the spectacular eruption of Budj Bim (Mount Eccles) around 27,000 years ago. Traditionally, this area is an important meeting place and camping area for the Gunditjmara people. Here with Denis’ explanations, we began to understand that this landscape was home to a large, settled community that established an extensive system of weirs, channels and ponds where eels were systematically farmed for food and trade. This is part of one of the world’s earliest aquaculture systems. We were also excited to see the that the people lived in settlements of circular stone dwellings.
In the evening, in our accommodation at the Lake Condah Aboriginal Mission, we shared a traditional Turkish meal with members of the Heywood Aboriginal community as we sat around a blazing fire. In this good company we learnt much about each other’s culture and traditions.
On Sunday we had the privilege of being escorted around the Mission by elder Auntie Laura Bell, and members of her family, who told us about life on the Mission. After a performance by the Winda Mara dancers we reluctantly left for Melbourne but we took away a much better understanding of why this area is being discussed for World Heritage Listing.
For more information about Budj Bim see http://www.gunditjmirring.com/