The Year of India

York’s Indian Cultural Association celebrates Diwali with dance

Samruddhi Thakkar

Last spring marked the inaugural launch of the Year of India in Canada, an event that aims to highlight India’s culture, traditions, and diversity and celebrate the contributions of the Indian diaspora to Canadian society.

The Indian Cultural Association (ICA) celebrated the Garba-Diwali festival November 4 with great fervour and enthusiasm by organizing a Garba dance for the Diwali party at Winters College dining hall.

Diwali, popularly known as the “festival of lights”, is one of the most important festivals of the year in India, celebrated amongst family by performing traditional activities together in their homes.

Garba is celebrated in many ways by Hindus across India.
Performed in a circle as a symbol of the Hindu conception of time, the rings of dancers revolve in cycles, representing the religion’s cyclical view of time. The dance is dedicated to a feminine God.

All students dazzled in their traditional attires. Students of all cultures took to the ground with their dancing partners and traditional decorative sticks; the dandiya dance session was also a part of this huge hit with everyone dancing to Gujarati (an Indo-Aryan language, native to the Indian state of Gujarat) songs.

The event ended with a form of dance called “bhangra”. The folk dance was popularized in the Western world by Punjabi musicians, and is seen in the West as an expression of South Asian culture as a whole. Today, bhangra survives in different forms and styles—including pop music, film soundtracks, collegiate competitions, and cultural shows—all over the globe.

“I am very glad to be a part of ICA and thankful to my whole team,” says Mohit Punjabi, president of the organization. “Without them this event wouldn’t have been as great as it was. The celebration and get-together was meant to strengthen [the] bond and spread the Indian culture among York students.”

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