Arts & Living
Diwali: Celebrating the Light of Wisdom by Indians in Korea (IIK)
By Prof. Rohidas Arote
Seoul National University
Indian In Korea (IIK) celebrated Diwali in South Korea’s city Suwon days ahead of its actual date giving South Koreans a taste of Indian culture. Putting behind the strains in ties between South and North Korea earlier year, hundreds of Indians, Koreans as well as other nationality friends, converged at Balcanto Art Center of The University of Suwon on Sunday 27th Oct 2013 to celebrate “The Festival of Lights” Diwali.Acting DCM of Embassy of India Seoul, Col. Ajay Chandpuria, who joined the people in celebrating the Festival of Lights, said Diwali was an important occasion for the Indian community and a great example of how Indians In Korea (IIK) and even multicultural communities come together to share their cultures."The Indian Festival of Lights is the most widely celebrated festival of the people from the Indian sub-continent and across the whole world. Diwali means rows of lights, it is the festival symbolizing victory of good over evil, light over darkness, and knowledge over ignorance. Though there are many mythological explanations to this wonderful festival, however, in the current world what the festival of lights really stands for is a reaffirmation of hope, a renewed commitment to friend ship, religious tolerance, spreading the word of peace and harmony and above all, celebration of “simple joys of life” he said.Held at the University of Suwon on Sunday 27th Oct 2013, Indians, Koreans gathered to enjoy music and dance, live performances, art and craft stalls, Indian food and interactive items with multicultural communities. The Festival of Lights in Korea may not have lived upto the memories of a traditional Indian Diwali, but the dancing, singing, music and endless Indian treats gave this small expat community a taste of home. While the celebration in Balcanto Art Center lacked fireworks and other comforts of India, it brought people together to celebrate a common tradition of Bollywood Dance. The distinctly cultural performances included Fancy Dress and Ganesh Vandana performed by Children, Bollywood inspired dances, Semi-classical free style fusion dance, and an Ode to the Dancing Divas of Bollywood by a group of Indian ladies followed by melodious Bollywood songs. The night continued on with Indian classical dance, Bharatnatyam and Panjabi folk dance, Bhangra."Diwali is a marvelous expression of what we all strive to achieve as a community of varied backgrounds, faiths and interests and it is wonderful to see so many people from different cultures coming together," Mrs. Niharika Singh, The Director of Indian Cultural Center at Embassy of India, said.In India, arrays of earthen lamps are placed on the balconies and door-steps of homes and commercial establishments across the country. Fireworks sporadically pierce the black night sky as reminders of light’s power. Most importantly of all, Diwali is incomplete without limitless consumption of traditional Indian sweets made from milk and ghee (clarified butter), nuts and sugar syrup and this gap was filled by moth watering food from Chakraa Indian Restaurant. ZRoadTV, Air India, Indian Overseas Bank, Indian Chamber of Commerce in Korea and Chakraa Indian Restaurant and Expat Mart were the major sponsors to this grand festival.Officials from Embassy of India, Seoul, Korea Immigration Center, Suwon Migrant Community Service, Indian Overseas Bank, State Bank of India and several other dignitaries also participated in Diwali celebrations.The writer, Prof. Rohidas Arote, is a professor at Seoul National University. He serves as vice president of Indians In Korea (IIK, www.indiansinkorea.com)) group. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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The writer, Prof. Rohidas B. Arote, Ph.D. of Department of Molecular Genetics of Seoul National University’s School of Dentistry, serves as columnist for The Seoul Times. He also serves as vice president of Indians in Korea (IIK, www.indiansinkorea.com) group. He can be reached at email@example.com