The event shared both Indian and Iraqi traditional food. (Katie Lundy/Snapper)
On Saturday from 11 A.M. to 5 P.M., the Presidential Commission on Cultural and Diversity and Inclusion of Millersville University hosted a celebration centering on Indian culture.
Titled “Namaste” after the Indian greeting, the event promised to be a true experience of food, music, dancing, arts, and culture.
Walking into the Student Memorial Center or SMC, the air was filled with the scents of Indian and Iraqi foods. With food vendors selling masala chai tea and mango lassi, a mango yogurt drink, one’s thirst was sure to be quenched.
The SMC Atrium was filled with the festival sounds of DJ Nash Bhatt, and spiritual leaders from the ISKCON of the Radha Krishna Temple, a Hindu worship service for the Philadelphia area. Handing out booklets and pamphlets to promote understanding of their religion, ISKCON is celebrating their fiftieth anniversary this year for service in the West.
“The path we promote is a universal path,” expressed Kaunteya Das. “We encourage everyone to chant the name of God they are familiar with.” Kaunteya, the Global Call Minister for Congregational Development, is originally from Italy and is a humble man who travels the world to teach his worshipers about Krishna.
As one of the activities for the day, ISKCON hosted a chanting session so that event goers would be able to experience firsthand the power of chanting that Hinduism holds as a tenet of the religion.
Among the other events hosted was a cultural enrichment workshop for food and how to wear a traditional sari and play the table or Indian drum, a Bharatanatyam dance workshop to teach basic dance moves, and a Hindi language workshop.
In front of the Multipurpose Room or MPR, vendors lined the walls. Among these, henna by Mamta Arora, decorative lamps known as diya by Vrinda Kumar & Co., and chess games by Wood Enrichment Services were especially popular.
For the majority of the afternoon, performances of dance and song were being held in the MPR. Wearing beautiful traditional costumes, dancers stomped with bells around their feet to perform dances of celebration.
Singers ranged on a spectrum of age. Male or female, young or elderly; there were many performances. Among the singers, song about love or from Bollywood movies seemed to be prevailing themes.
Of the singing performances, two sisters performed the song Hairama from the Bollywood film Rangeela. Suchita Ramachandrn, 14, and her sister Anika, 12, of Manheim Township chose to perform this year for a variety of reasons.
“We started learning music at a young age,” Suchita said.
Both sisters perform in their respective school choirs and expressed a love for music after they performed.
Truly an event worth noting, this year’s celebration of Indian culture was a robust festival with enough food, dance, and activities to keep all participants excited and filled with joy.