Festival of Hindu’s will bring Indian flavor to local community

Festival-of-India-WebsiteThe 27th annual Festival of India will run from 3 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 11, at the Stevens Point Area Senior High School (SPASH), 1201 North Point Drive, Stevens Point.

General admission to the event is free. Tickets for the dinner are $14 each and some of the various activities suggest a donation for participation.

The Festival of India has two main goals, to offer people a taste of Indian culture, traditions and customs and also to raise funds to support SHAMA Inc.’s ongoing mission. SHAMA helps support and educate Indian women and children with direct scholarships, medical assistance and educational programs.

“People have almost no idea what India is all about,” said Jyoti Chander, the Festival coordinator. “There is a need to develop friendships from knowing more about each other. There is more to us and to our culture than the jobs we do. We can enrich the community.”

The doors will open at 2:30 p.m. and events will begin at 3 p.m. From 3 to 6 p.m. there will be multiple ongoing activities for festival goers to participate in.

One of the main attractions is the Bollywood/Dandia Dancing. There will be demonstrations and guest participation is encouraged. There will also be Indian dancing specifically for children, led by Simrin and Jaskirt Sandhu.

The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP) Yoga & Meditation Club will run yoga sessions from 3 to 4 p.m. There will also be laughing yoga sessions during that time.

“Laughter to get in touch with your inner laughter, that is the idea,” said Chander. “It does not come from telling jokes, it is from the body. It’s almost a learned process.”

The festival will showcase Diwali, the Festival of Lights, Karva Chauth, the Married Couple Day Festival, and Rakhi, Sibling Day Festival. The traditions and ceremonies behind each of these festivals will be explained and demonstrated from 4 to 5:30 p.m.

As part of Karva Chauth, married couples fast for each other’s health. Chander said fasting for someone is like saying you are praying for them.

“It’s romantic,” Chander said. “To me it (fasting) is like going beyond your own physical location and experiencing knowing more and really appreciating what is on this planet. Fasting is good for the health, but it is also good for relationship building.”

Chair massages will be available as well as palm reading and Henna tattoos. Henna is a temporary tattoo, usually in black or red ink and washes off in about two weeks. Children can join in Indian games led by Srikant Modi. There will be multiple presentations covering topics such as Buddhism, environmental strengths and challenges in India and spiritual traditions.

Judi Olson and Karolee Bulak will conduct India cooking demonstrations from 3 to 4 p.m. There will be Mugal, South Indian and North Indian cooking demonstrations.

From 3 to 5 p.m. koshin Bob Hanson, Kurt Luchs and Aruna Kondal will lead Joy of Poetry. Some will read Indian poetry and there will also be an open microphone for others who wish to read poetry.

Meditation session and Reiki and energy healing will also be offered from 3 to 5 p.m. These sessions will be led by Manish Gupta, koshin Bob Hanson and Dan Derezinski.

One of the most popular features of the festival is dinner, with authentic Indian food. Dinner will be served buffet style from 4 to 6:30 p.m. The food is all made by volunteers, who start cooking the day before the event in order to have everything ready in time.

The menu will include vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. The buffet will feature Tandoori chicken Tikka, Channa Massala, mixed vegetables curry, potato curry, basmati rice Biryani, naan, rayta and mango ice-cream.

Tickets for the dinner are $14 for adults, $9 for college and high school students with ID and children ages 6-12. Children ages 5 and younger eat for free.

Advance tickets may be purchased at the Stevens Point Area Co-op, 633 Second St., Kindred Spirit Books, 1028 Main St. and the Point Motel, 209 Division St. Online tickets are available through PayPal atwww4.uwsp.edu/multicultural/shama/Festivals/Tkts/Tickets.htm. Tickets at the door are an additional $2.

After dinner the featured performances will run from 7 to 9 p.m. There will be Indian stand-up comedy, Rejasthani folk dancing, and Bollywood and Bhangra dancing.

Sponsors from UWSP include the Diversity and College Access Office, College of Fine Arts and Communication, South Asia Society and Yoga Meditation Club. For more information, go online at www.uwsp.edu/multicultural/Shama or contact UW-Stevens Point Diversity and College Access at 715-346-3829.

Source: pcgazette.com