Early October, as close to Gandhiji's birthday as possible.
Co-hosted with Club Zamana (website).
Garba is a fast-paced and brilliantly colorful Gujurati folk dance in which men and women dance in concentric circles around a lamp, which represents life as the fetus in a womb, or an image of Goddess Durga, the feminine form of divinity. The rings of dancers revolve in circles, which represents the cyclical nature of time in human life.
Raas is a traditional folk dance from Vrindavan, India that harkens to the stories of Krishna's Rasa Lila, or playful dance, with his beloved Radha and the gopis, Krishna's cowherd-girl devotees. Dandiya raas involves patterned dancing with one or two sticks in circles or lines with steps that can grow dizzyingly complex.
Late October, as close to the actual Navaratri as possible.
Columbia's Raas team (facebook group).
Golu, or Bommala Koluvu, is a toy festival celebrated during Navratri in Southern India, and is most common in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka, as well as in some Tamil communities in Sri Lanka. The Golu is an exhibition of various dolls and figurines in odd numbered tiers (padis), and represents the divine presence of the Goddesses Saraswati, Parvati and Laxmi.
Our Diwali celebration is in mid-November.
It has become a hallmark of HSO's Diwali celebration to include a short comedic film explaining the roots and modern traditions of Diwali. HSO has an enormous amount of fun writing the script, filming, and editing this video every year, and the characters seem to live on even past the fade to black...I'm looking at you, Raj aka Roger aka Rager?
As with any great event, the night of food and culture culminates on the dance floor with the lights turned down and the music turned loud. All music styles from bhangra and Bollywood to popular American and unpopular American are played, and you might just see people getting creative with the tea lights...
A range of booths spanning the arts, games, and entertainment are set up for attendees--so come have your name written in Marathi on a grain of rice, or leave your wish for the new year as a leaf on a huge tree; take a photo in front of a huge palace door, or leave with your hands covered in beautiful Mehendi art!