Meet Divali Nagar US, a non-profit org committed to exposing the Caribbean people to Hindu festivals

Shama Harrysingh

SOUTH FLORIDA – Divali, like other Hindu Festivals, was brought to the Caribbean and Western Hemisphere by indentured East Indian immigrants, whose oral accounts from memory formed the basis of observances. Divali, India’s most ancient festival, is one of the most vibrant and auspicious occasions celebrated by Hindus throughout the world including the Caribbean.

Instituted six years ago by Trinidadians in South Florida, Divali Nagar US, Inc, a non-profit organization, is committed to exposing the younger generation of Caribbean and non-Caribbean people to Hindu festivals and other aspects of our rich and diverse culture.

Divali Nagar US held its 6th Annual Divali celebrations on October 27th, 2013 at the renowned Central Broward Regional Park, Lauderhill, Florida with approximately four thousand attendees.

The organization is quite solid and is growing rapidly. Remarkably, it has garnered interest from many other cultural groups in South Florida.

The show featured music, dance, a showcase of Indian art and craft and a variety of tasty ethnic, vegetarian cuisine as well as mouthwatering Indian sweets and delicacies.
Many businesses used the opportunity to showcase their goods and services.

Prominent local and international artistes entertained the crowd. Some of the artistes were Trnidad & Tobago’s Chutney Monarch 2013, Raymond Ramnarine and Dil- E- Nadan; direct from India were Samir Date and Dipalee Somaiya; from Florida were Mala Samaroo, Khamrune Ali, Alex Pooran, Vidya Babwah-Gosine, Champa Chameli Dance Group and Jaya Devi Dancers. The Kids’ workshop was also a popular item at the Nagar. Pooja was performed by the young and multi-talented Vashisht Panday.

Among the attendees were the Mayor of the City of Lauderhill, Mr. Richard Kaplan and Broward County Commissioner Honorable Dale Holness. In addressing the audience, Mayor Kaplan said, “I am honored to be here to join in your celebration of the Festival of Lights. It is a great honor to have this event at the Central Broward Regional Park which is in my jurisdiction. The festival celebrates the victory of good over evil, light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance. It is a time for joy and happiness.”

Honorable Dale V.C. Holness, welcomed the guests and thanked the Divali Nagar, Inc. under the distinguished leadership of DNI’S President, Pundit Neil D. Persad.

Commissioner Holness recalled the birth of Divali Nagar Inc in September 2008 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, noting that it was the first celebration of its kind to have taken place in the heart of his district at the Central Broward Regional Park, Lauderhill.

Holness told the enthusiastic and appreciative attendees that at that inaugural event, “culture was abound and a variety of entertainment was in abundance and with scrumptious delicacies and local dishes, live music and tassa drummers, the park teemed with jubilation.” He added, “This was the cornerstone for the now vibrant and purposeful Divali Nagar committee here in the United States of America. This year’s celebration is the best Divali celebration in the region and I am delighted to be a part of it.

Please accept my heartfelt congratulations!”

The show culminated with an explosion of devotional songs by the famous Dil- E- Nadan led by Raymond Ramnarine to the crowd’s delight.
Divali Nagar US members remain committed to ‘Enlightening Children and Families Culturally’ today, tomorrow and beyond. It is in that context that it is important to note the realization of one of Divali Nagar’s missions. A youth arm was formed last year by some very dedicated young persons who are doing tremendous work in the community. The Youth Arm hosted a Mothers’ Day show in appreciation of all mothers as well as other successful fundraising events.

“We wish to thank the entire community, our sponsors, the media, entertainers, businesses, dignitaries, committee members and youth volunteers who came forward to make this the largest outdoor Divali Celebrations here in North America. Be sure to join us next year as we celebrate Divali at our Nagar from Friday October 17th 2014 – Sunday October 19th 2014,” said Pundit Neil Persad, President of Divali Nagar
US who expressed tremendous joy on the support and overwhelming success of Divali Nagar US.
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Source: South Florida Caribbean News