Diwali Festival in Tucson
Posted November 20, 2010
Urvashi Dance Troup perform traditional Indian Dances
While visiting Tucson to increase our outreach at the university, I attended their Diwali festival. When I was a new devotee, Diwali festivals were not common. Thus I tend to think they are not so much a part of our practice of Krishna bhakti but something tacked on to it to please the Indian congregations, and for that reason, I am not so inclined to them. Still, they are an opportunity for people to engage in devotional service in different ways so I enthusiastically promoted the Diwali festival at the university, as well as our restaurant, Sunday feast, and my Gita seminar.
The devotees did a good job organizing the festival, transforming their parking lot into an outdoor auditorium and making arrangements for prasadam, a book display, a cooking demonstration, and the chance to offer lights to the deity. It was exciting to see all the people coming, many for the first time. And many of the first timers were genuinely happy they had come. One high school history teacher told her students about it, and many came, some delighting in the face painting as well as the prasadam. A community college Asian religions professor also informed her students about our program, and many of them came as well. Students from both classes promised to give my contact information to their teachers, so they could invite me to speak, which I proposed, but which the students were also very excited about. Some neighbors came as well. Our book table did really well, with several people buying more than one book.
Festival goers enjoy the concert with East/West Band 'Sruti'
The stage show consisted of Sruti, a local group that has been playing Indian music and Indian instruments for 25 years. Their music was relaxing and put one in a good mood. Then the Urvasi Dance Troupe, with girls of various ages, performed five different Indian dances. Finally Michelle of Elemental Artistry, with some of her friends, performed different dances with illuminated hoops and some very exciting dances with fire. Inside the temple, was a gloriously decorated altar, with the offering of lamps to the deity, and one college student said for her, that was the best part.
A couple of university students told me they had a wonderful time and were very happy to have come. I took down their contact information in hopes they will be willing to help staff our club on the campus.
Rather than wait in line for prasadam, some friends and I played bhajanas at the book booth as the line dwindled. Fortunately there was enough prasadam for everyone to get something.
As a result of the festival, I could see how quite a variety of people came to the temple for the first time and had a good experience, so I felt very good about being part of it. I felt indebted to the Tucson devotees, headed by Mother Sandamini for having put on such an effective festival for the spiritual benefit of the people in general.
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