By Anindita Mukhopadhyay
Festivals of India is a cultural extravaganza including a series of entertaining events, exhibitions, and fun-filled workshops, aiming to celebrate and promote the culture and ethos of India across the world. This initiative by the Ministry of Culture is part of a focused strategy for strengthening India’s international cultural relations. A kaleidoscope of culture, colours, goods, and flavours; the festival is now in Montecasino, a leisure complex designed like an Italian village, housing a casino, theatres, cinemas, and a mall. The festival began on 16 March and will run on till 25 March in Johannesburg.
Shades of India
The festival has pumped-up Bollywood dance performances, melodious musical concerts, riveting theatre acts, and film screenings on offer, along with a finger-licking Indian culinary experience. The festival is a treat for the entire family, catering to every possible curiosity, including a literary festival for bookworms to wander around, and even yoga demonstrations for the spiritually inclined.
With authentic Indian apparel and genuine homeware for sale, the vibrant festival is truly like stepping into an India without ever getting on an aeroplane. Attendees can walk the lanes of Montecasino, taking in the sights and sounds of a bustling Indian bazaar, showcasing the latest and most exquisite saris, perfectly cut and styled Punjabis, or even a dream bridal gown, accompanied by traditionally intricate jewellery displays. To add to the Indian shopping experience, products for sale include traditional prayer items, religious sculptures, astrological assortments, and much more.
The significance of Festivals of India
These festivals are organized in various countries through their native Indian Missions, assisted by numerous autonomous organizations, institutions, NGOs, and dedicated individuals. The Festivals of India cell in the Ministry of Culture, coordinates with all the participating agencies to come up with a consolidated proposal, detailing information of all possible aspects of preparation, from picking the venue to the handling of cargo to budgetary considerations.
India is well-known world over as a country celebrating as many festivals as it has deities to worship. As a secular country with numerous diverse religions and cultures, every month is a celebration of cultural heritage. As one of the most populous nations, Indians permeate every country of the world; as a result, Indian festivals and culture are celebrated world over. In addition to these celebrations, initiatives like ‘Festivals of India’ further safeguard Indian traditions and strengthen cultural relations among nations of the world, while inculcating a sense of cultural pride amongst Indians living abroad.
As Mike Page, GM of Montecasino remarks, “Celebrating the exotic delights of all things India, including the culture, fashion, cuisine, and lifestyle, is always popular with South Africans of all walks of life and age groups.” The 10-day festival is planned to be an annual event for South African and African-Indian communities to look forward to, a truly delightful experience for all visitors. A major highlight of the festival thus far has been the spicy, flavourful, and authentic rich foods on offer, enhancing the overall Indian experience of the Festival.
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