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Indianapolis, Indiana USA

February 22, 2014

 Event Reflection: Kanwal Prakash Singh

The Punjabi Sikh community and their friends in central Indiana celebrated the annual Lohri Festival on February 22 at India Palace Restaurant in Indianapolis.  One of the coldest winters on record and with frequent arctic blasts and heavy snowfalls may be one reason that the Lohri celebration was a little later for this popular Punjabi cultural festival marking the end of winter season in the Punjab.  Many communities in India and beyond have their own folklore and traditional commemorations and celebrations at this time.

 The mood and spirit inside the banquet hall was very warm and friendly, colorful and fun as people mingled with a joyful spirit and celebrated the traditional Punjabi Lohri Indiana style.

 It was an exciting evening: beautiful Punjabi dresses, young men and women displaying their festive spirit, meeting friends and congratulating the sponsor of the Lohri festivities, singing of traditional folk songs and dancing to the robust Bhangra music and live interludes of Punjabi drum by Dholi Benny Singh.  There were colorful reminders of the origin and history of Lohri festival in dance, popular folklore and folksongs, Punjabi poetry and narration.

 During the evening, led by the gifted Masters of Ceremony and several groups including Greenwood Bhangra Team, Bhangra Remix, Giddha by Punjab diyan Mutiayaran performed to the delight of 300 multi-generational and multi-cultural guests from across central Indiana. 

 A delicious vegetarian Punjabi dinner followed the formal entertainment program and then the place the rocked to the popular Bhangra music provided by DJ Mavi.  After dinner, the dance floor was packed with young and old, men and women expressing and showing their skills, styles, moves and mastery of Bhangra dancing and vibrant and sensual folk music.

 It was marvelous to see everyone caught up in the legend that surrounds Lohri celebration and the spirit and traditions that have evolved over the centuries.  It was amazing to witness the exuberance and energy of the youth and feel a sense of pride of accomplishment about how far the Sikh and Punjabi communities have come in Indiana and America over the past 50 years.  The dedication and efforts to preserve Punjabi folklore, Sikh cultural and religious celebrations in new places across the globe are reassuring. 

 Immigrants in new lands, much like the waves of generations past, are exploring ways and opportunities to make their cultures, festivals, and heritage an integral part of the collective cultural heritage of humanity.  Rich cultural experiences, history and heritage, legends and legacy that represent the heart and soul of people from distant lands are being entrusted into the hands of future generations.  We are encouraged by their interest, pride, and adaptations.  We hope that 50 years from now when we look back, it would be a proud moment to rejoice and celebrate their rightful place in our collective cultural tapestry as a civilization.

 Chirjeev Oberoi and Narvinder Bhola organized the evening’s program.  Maninder Walia, President of the Sikh Educational & Cultural Society of Indianapolis served as the General Chairman of the Celebration.  Punjabi leaders and entertainers Mrs. Jasbir Mann and Mr. Harminder Singh from Chicago honored us by their presence and served as Masters of Ceremony of the 2014 Lohri celebration......Indianapolis, Indiana USA  <>