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Vegecareian Festival is back, along with a new immersive lightscape

Words by Tehya Nicholas
Images Supplied

If it’s universal compassion you’re after, a day trip to Vegecareian Festival might be an excellent place to start.

In 2013, the Western world’s largest stupa — aptly titled the Great Stupa, standing tall just a short drive outside of Bendigo — began hosting an annual spring festival dedicated to the love of animals and plants. They called it Vegecareian Festival (emphasis on the care) and fast became one of the state’s most popular multicultural family-friendly events before it was shuttered by the pandemic. The one-day extravaganza returns this October 1st, marking a new period of exciting events brightening the Great Supa calendar.

Vegecareian teaches a lot more than just the joys of eating vegetables. The day is infused with the stupa’s central principle of compassion; market stalls of locally made produce are available to purchase, cooking demonstrations feature dishes from around the globe for some free education, and family activities are dotted throughout the day. In an outstanding act of 21st Century altruism, a Buddhist monk will be present to bless your pet if you’re up for bringing them along. Dogs, cats, chickens, and donkeys have been known to receive a blessing in the past.  Even if vegetarianism isn’t your thing, soaking up the goodwill in the air does something nice to your insides.

Marketing and Events Manager at Great Stupa Matthew Griffin told us recently visitor numbers can be expected to grow to between 1000 and 2000 people on the day, plus animal companions. “We wanted to bring people together for education about animal care, introduce people to a vegetarian lifestyle, and give them an opportunity to learn how to cook vegetarian food,” he explains. This free, multifaceted festival is an awesome expression of compassion (a rare and valuable practice in today’s fast-paced world) and marks an exciting opportunity to mingle with the local community.

Once your belly is full with uniformly excellent food and you’re ready for more pleasantries at Great Stupa, head back once a month for their brand new lightscape experience, Enlighten. Vermillion red, cobalt blue, canary yellow, and more vibrant lights have been designed to shimmer off the canvas white of the stupa and flow across their garden, Peace Park. The immersive show presents an exclusive opportunity to view the stupa after dark while live performers roam throughout the evening for your entertainment. Their first event is slated for August 13th, and will be held throughout the year on multiple nights and on special occasions. Tickets are available via their website.


WHAT: Vegecareian Festival
Great Stupa of Universal Compassion, 25 Sandhurst Town Road, Myers Flat (Bendigo) VIC 3556
 Saturday October 1st, 10am-3pm
MORE INFO: Great Stupa of Universal Compassion

We wish to acknowledge the Dja Dja Wurrung people as traditional owners of this land and to pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.
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