The Indian Americans for Burlington (IAB) organized a Diwali celebration at the town commons on Sunday Oct 15. A historic first in the town of Burlington, the event was conceived to share the Indian culture with other members of the town. The Town Selectman, Burlington Chief of Police, School Superintendent, School Committee members and others attended the event.
The Gazebo was decorated under the leadership of Raksha Soni to reflect an Indian home. Rangoli and other competitions lead by Dipti Nagraj made it a fun way to bring awareness about Indian culture. A fabulous cultural program under the leadership of Sutanuka Debashri Basu showcased a variety of cultural items including a street play depicting the story of the Ramayana. Vaishali Garde organized a fashion show showcasing the costumes from different parts of India.
In honor of Dhanteras, where God Dhanvantari, the God of Health is worshipped, the team organized a health table and featured some Yoga demonstrations under the leadership of Vijay Bhat and Dhanshree Ramachandran.
Attendees had the opportunity to eat and shop at the various vendor stalls. The sponsorship and vendor management team, led by Dinesh Tanna and Anil Saigal were pleased to see the support from the community. “The vendors did very brisk business and have promised to come back next year” said Anil Saigal.
“Celebrating diversity in our community and encouraging our neighbors to learn more about and recognize the value of other cultures is incredibly important. When we come together as a community as we are today to celebrate Diwali, we take an important step toward facilitating a more welcoming environment for all”, said Friedman.
The evening ended with a lovely Garba choreographed by Shital Bhammar. Akash Pradeep, a Bengali tradition where lamps are lit in honor of ancestors initiated the tree lighting ceremony. When darkness came, the trees were lit on the common.
“We are so delighted to see so many people at this first ever Indian American for Burlington(IAB) Diwali celebrations” said Menka Jethra, the President of IAB. For director Indra Deb who served as a liaison with the town, it was heartening to see a strong presence of the town leadership at the event.
For the Diwali celebration team leads Gini Pookotil, who is also the secretary of the association and Ranjani Saigal, the event went way beyond their expectations. “It is truly satisfying to see all the hard work pay off. We are grateful that the weather Gods cooperated with us. We are excited to see the interest in IAB grow. Please check out our website at http://iabma.org and join us” says Gini Pookotil.