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Friday, December 24, 2010

Diwali Worldover

We highlight Diwali celebrations all over the world highlighting importance of India and Indians in world scene

Diwali 10 at madam tussauds

World famous Madame Tussauds kicked off the UK’s season of Diwali celebrations this year by hosting its very first weekend of celebrations which included music, dance and culture the mark the Festival of Lights.

Visitors to the iconic attraction were treated to the classical traditions of India with musicians entertaining crowds on the sitar, flute and the traditional Indian drums, the tabla.

North and south Indian classical dance traditions were also showcased with captivating performances by dancers from Sujata Bannerjee Dance Company and accomplished Bharatnatiyam performer Shivali Patel.

The celebrations which were held amongst wax figures of Shahrukh Khan, Salman khan, Aishawarya Rai and Amitabh Bachchan, wouldn’t have been complete without a sprinkling of Bollywood dance.

Visitors and staff alike took the opportunity to join in with Bollywood dancers Emiko Ishii and Krupa Chavda as they performed high-energy Bollywood inspired dance routines and brought the weekend to a close.

Liz Edwards, PR manager at Madame Tussauds, said, "The first ever Diwali Weekend at Madame Tussauds has been a great success! We hope all visitors enjoyed the attraction and we look forward to similar events in future which celebrate the different cultures and traditions of the world and give our visitors experiences they will remember when they visit Madame Tussauds."

Visitors to the Diwali event were also able to enjoy all the attractions Madame Tussauds has to offer including the brand new Marvel Super Heroes 4D.

Diwali09 at Whitehouse

Indians ALL over the world applauded US President Barack Obama for celebrating Diwali in White House in Washington DC last year (October 14, 2009). The tradition of celebrating Diwali in White House was started by President George Bush and Obama in a way added to this event by personally lighting the Diwali candle.

Obama reportedly said on the occasion, “ Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and some Buddhists, here in America and around the world, will celebrate this holiday by lighting Diyas, or lamps, which symbolize the victory of light over darkness, and knowledge over ignorance… And in that spirit of celebration and contemplation, I am happy to light the White House Diya, and wish you all a Happy Diwali, and a Saal Mubarak.”

“Penn-MASALA”, world's first Hindi a-cappella group of students at the University of Pennsylvania which combined South Asian music with a Western musical style, performed on the occasion. Indian mithais (sweetmeats) were distributed on the occasion, according to reports.

Acclaimed Indian statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, commended Obama for becoming the first US President to personally grace the occasion, which was held in the historic East Room. Obama reportedly lit the ceremonial diya (oil lamp) amidst chanting of mantras and bowed respectfully before a Hindu priest.

Rajan Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, in this statement, invited Obama to visit a Hindu temple in the near future and participate in an Arti (ceremony performed in adoration of a deity by circular movement of a lighted lamp). Zed also urged him to issue a US postal stamp marking Diwali festival.

Diwali, the festival of lights, aims at dispelling the darkness and lighting up the lives and symbolizes the victory of good over evil. Hinduism, the oldest and third largest religion of the world has about one billion adherents. There are about 2.3 million estimated Hindus in USA.

Diwali 09 at 10 Downing street

For the first time, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown [ Images ] on Friday celebrated Diwali [ Images ] at 10 Downing Street, as the Labour leader and his wife lit a lamp placed amid idols of Lord Rama [ Images ], Krishna from the Swaminarayan Mandir.

"This is a great day for Downing Street, a great day for us and a great day for Britain to welcome you to celebrate Diwali for the first time in Downing Street," Brown said while welcoming top non-resident Indians, including the Indian High Commissioner to the UK Nalin Surie and leading India-born industrialist Lord Swraj Paul.

"This is a historic event and all of you deserve our congratulations for your contribution to Britain," he said, as the celebration was held at the office-cum-residence of the British premier in an impressive manner for the first time in its history.

Brown said it was also an occasion to celebrate the strengthening of the relations between Britain and India [ Images ].

He noted that Indians in the UK have contributed a great deal for the success of Britain, be it in the field of business, art, culture, education and various other diverse fields.

Referring to the presence of a large number of youth, he described the youth as the "future of the country" and said "let us all work together to deal with poverty and injustice any where in the world."

The prime minister and his wife, Sarah Brown lit the Diwali lamp. Idols of Lord Rama, Krishna from the Swaminarayan Mandir were kept there. Also on display were a variety of sweets and different kinds of lights.

Keith Vaz, the ethnic Indian origin Labour Member of Parliament, said India's well-known artist M F Hussain, who was also present on the occasion, would donate one of his arts works to 10 Downing Street.

Hussain said he would donate one of the existing pieces of artwork to the prime minister. He said he planned to return to India and that the Government of India had indicated to him that he should come back to India.

"The government is working out a plan and I plan to go back at the earliest," he said.

Among other dignitaries present on the occasion included leading entrepreneur Sir Gulam Noon and top hotelier Joginder Sangar.

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