By Neena

In case you missed it, India Day was an afternoon filled with delicious food, colorful dresses, a wonderful exhibit, henna tattoos, music and dance.

What could be a better way to celebrate the end of a gloomy and cold winter and to welcome the bright and beautiful spring, than celebrating International Neighbors’ India Day, on the auspicious day of Holi (Indian festival of colors) and Newroz (Kurdish festival of new year). Both of these festivals represent the victory of good over evil, and the celebrations include gathering of family and friends, preparation of special food, music, dance and poetry reading. And that is exactly what we did.

On March 21st, we celebrated our incredible Indian heritage with our International Neighbors and friends, and gave everyone a glimpse into India’s unique and wonderful culture.

Festivities started with Deeksha, who welcomed guests by putting a tilak on their forehead and blessing them. After the introduction, everyone enjoyed a beautiful and mesmerizing classical dance performance by Sonam, who is a trained classical dancer. The guests got a brief lesson in the culture, traditions and history of India with the help of a presentation prepared by Deeksha and me. It was so much fun and a worthwhile sight when our friends of Indian heritage came together so elegantly and presented an impromptu Garba (folk dance of Gujrat, a western state) and Giddha, (folk dance of Punjab, a northern state).

Our guests also enjoyed beautiful henna/mehndi tattoos done by Khadra, Jyoti, and Puja. Everyone loved it, and it was quite a popular activity.

One of the highlights of the afternoon was a small exhibit put together by Sangeeta, Puja, Priyanka, Kavi, Kamlesh, Martha, Ammu, Nadeera, Raman and me. The exhibit had four sections. The first one was filled with different kinds of textiles and shawls; each piece was unique, representing traditional hand embroidery and prints. This section also had some traditional dresses and handmade shoes for display. Accompanying these dresses were amazing and beautiful traditional jewelry, bangles and hair accessories. The kitchen section was filled with special utensils found in every Indian household and a display of some world famous spices. Beside these, were different kinds of hand carved artifacts and beautiful handicrafts representing the rich and diverse heritage of India.

Last but not least, we all enjoyed a flavorful and home cooked Indian feast prepared by Rashmi, Meera, Nadeera, Ammu, Sangeeta, Kamlesh, Amol, Dilek, Deeksha, Kavi, Priyanka, Raman, Meena, Sonam, Puja, Kavitha and me. Yum!

India Day was an afternoon filled with fun, festivities, and friends. If you couldn’t make it this time, we missed you!

And if you were there, thank you so much for participating and making it so much fun. In the same note, I would like to thank Dilek, all the board members and the planning committee members for giving us this opportunity and doing the heavy lifting from planning, to setting up and even cleaning. My biggest thank you goes to Robyn for suggesting this event, encouraging me to organize it and then helping me, by holding my hand throughout the whole process, to make it so successful. Last but not least, thank you to Ammu, Deeksha, Sonam, Sangeeta, Kavi, Priyanka, Puja, Raman, Nadeera, Kamlesh, Martha, Rashmi, Meera, Meena, Amol, Dilek, Kavitha, Jyoti and Khadra, who helped in every possible way from giving ideas to cooking the food, from selecting the music to doing the henna tattoos.  Thank You!