Deepavali celeberations across the Globe

published on November 13, 2012

A Thrilling Ram Leela Captivates Houstonians At The Wortham Center

HOUSTON, TEXAS, November 1, 2012 (Indo-American News): The Indian holiday season went into high gear with the Ram Leela pageant that was performed this past Sunday, October 28, at the Wortham Center downtown as months of preparation culminated in a spectacle that unfolded in the 1,300 seat Brown Theatre for a four-hour show, which had been sold-out four weeks before the performance. Each person was greeted at the Theatre doors by a girl holding a thali and placing a vermillion tilak on the forehead.

Dr. Arun Verma, the head of the Shri Sita Ram Foundation, USA which produced the pageant, was overwhelmed by the support that the event had received. He opened the show with welcome remarks and then formally recognized the two major sponsors Dr. Durga and Sushila Agarwal and Dr. Virender and Nalini Mathur, and the two chief guests, Indian Consul General P. Harish and his wife Nandita and University of Houston Chancellor and President Renu Khator and her husband Suresh. The directors of the extravaganza, Ratna Kumar and Shiva Mathur were also introduced, as well as the talented dancer and actress Divya Unni who performed a special piece for the event.

Ram Leela is an folk dance art form that is heavily portrayed in India during the period before Dusserah and the story of the exploits of Lord Ram, Sita and Lakhsman are well-known by heart all across India. So, in this sense, many in the audience were well-versed in the portions of the play that follow each other, and often erupted in loud applause when they recognized the characters and followed the story line, such as when the four brothers Ram, Lakhsman, Bharat and Shatrugun are born, grow into strong young men and when they go with the Sage Vishwaamir to fight the demons of the forest.

2012 Diwali Mela Sets Off With A Bang!

FREMONT, CALIFORNIA, October 31, 2012 (India Post): In the biggest celebration in three decades, FIA and the Fremont Hindu temple celebrated Diwali Mela on a grand scale. Thanks to the Fremont Hindu Temple, 2012’s Diwali Mela took place on October 27, and it appeared as if all of Bay Area had gathered to celebrate Diwali for a colorful and melodious evening. Thousands of devotees thronged Alameda County’s sprawling fairgrounds to greet each other and participate in a day filled with fun activities.

Everywhere people were smiling and laughing, enjoying themselves while celebrating the biggest Hindu festival of the year. The crowd filed through the Alameda County Fairground, stopping at booths along the way to try festive food and play games. Over four hours, fifty dance groups, composed of children, adults, and senior citizens, took the stage to wow the crowds with their beautiful dresses and dances.

Dr Romesh Japra, Chairman and Convener of FIA, highlighted the grand scale of Diwali Mela in his speech. He said that one of the key reasons for organizing the Mela was to help Indian-American youth learn their ancestors’ culture and heritage. He added that the holiday season begins with Diwali, which signifies the victory of good over evil, and that the Mela provides a festive opportunity to teach children about Indian culture.

Spirituality, Culture Explode At Divali Nagar Opening

Paras Ramoutar

TRINIDAD/TOBAGO, November 2012 (by Paras Ramoutar for HPI): Spirituality and the finest of Indian culture exploded on the stage of Divali Nagar on Sunday night. One of the highlights of the performances was Quincy Kendal Charles, an Afro Trinidadian, originally from Mayaro, and who permanently resides in India, and is now considered as an expert in the Kathak style of dancing. There were also the enthralling presentation of dance portraying the Lord Hanuman Chalisa (prayer) by the B-Mobile Shiv Shakti Dance Group, followed by Trinidad and Tobago Sweet Tassa Group,and Sandra Sookdeo Dance Group. The sweet sounds of Nada Sangam Steel Orchestra played several of the nostalgic East Indian songs and bhajans setting the place for Divali-like environment.

Several senior government ministers were in attendance which included Minister of Local Government, Dr. Surujattan Ramachan, Minister of Education, Dr. Tim Gopeesingh, Minister of Works, Emmanuel George, Minister of Energy, Senator Kevin Ramnarine, Minister in the Ministry of Finance, Rudy Indarsingh, Minister of Finance, Senator Larry Howai, Mayor of Chaguanas, Councillor Orlando Nagassar. Opposition Leader Dr. Keith Rowley and several PNM officials were also in attendance.

Divali has been celebrated as a public holiday here since 1966. The theme of this year’s presentation, the 26th, was, “Shri Ram Baktha Hanuman,” and Spiritual leader of the Chinmaya Mission, Swami Prakashananda was the Chief Guest of Honour.

In his stirring address, Swami Prakashananda said that a nation is as strong, robust, fit and mentally healthy as its individuals. “In Rama Bhakta Hanuman, the rishis (saints) have provided us with a most deserving role model, an exemplar in every regard. Shri Hanumanji is the most multifaceted character of the great Ramayana epic. A perfect devotee and servant of Lord Rama and by extension a servant of humanity, an astute diplomat, a guide and a guru, an ocean of knowledge, humble, simple and devoted to any cause.”

President of the National Council of Indian Culture, Dr. Deokienanan Sharma said that Divali Nagar, the flagship project of the NCIC, has played a major role in exposing to the wider national community, the Caribbean and further afield the culture of the Indo Trinbagonian. Divali has been celebrated since 1845 with the arrival of the first set of East Indians, some 148,000 who came here between 1845 to 1917 to work on the sugar and cocoa plantations. It is projected that in excess of 100,000 patrons would have attended Divali Nagar 2012.–culture-explode-at-divali-nagar-opening/12517.html

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