Consul Generals and representatives of 15 countries attend
SUGAR LAND, TX: Diwali is the biggest festivals of India celebrated celebrated around the world. The largest Indian festival Diwali also establishes restatement of the belief of triumphs over evil, Hope over Despair, Inner light over spiritual darkness, of knowledge over ignorance, and right over wrong .
This year the festival organized by Shri Sita Ram Foundation and its message of brotherhood went international . Consul Generals and/or representatives of Fifteen Countries : Australia, Barbados, Colombia, Costa Rica, India, Indonesia, Germany, Czech Republic , Portugal, Switzerland, Taiwan, Russia, Saudi Arabia and UAE were invited and joined the celebrations with over 10,000 People from Indian origin.
It was a sight to see the flags of 15 countries flying at Skeeters Baseball field along with those of Ram ji, USA and Texas. Several countries thanked the Foundation for including them in the festival and honoring their respective flags by flying them at the stadium.
Since 2012, the Shri Sita Ram Foundation, a 501 C (3) non-profit, has brought this great festival to Houston in a manner not seen elsewhere in the US or even in India. This year the Foundation over delivered again by presenting Indian culture and heritage at its best for all to see and experience. Celebration of togetherness irrespective of caste, creed & religion were truly represented through a cultural bouquet at Skeeter’s Stadium on 19th Oct. 2019.The fact that Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner (the official “Chief Guest”) and Fort Bend County Judge KP George (the parade marshal), Sugarland Mayor Mr. Zimmerman and other prominent politicians were present at the event, is reflective of Houston area’s fast-growing, newly powerful Indian population .
Last year the event attracted Texas Governor Gregg Abbott and Congressman Pete Olson as Chief Guest and Parade Marshall respectively.
The Foundation succeeded in meeting its objectives of :
– Re-connecting first generation Indians with the culture and festive experience of the biggest festival of India; outside of India.
– Introduce and educate children born and raised in the US to the rich cultural roots through a three-dimensional presentation and participation.
– Introduce, educate, promote and showcase the rich and vibrant Indian culture and moral value to all mainstream Americans.
– Celebrate the ‘Victory of Good over Evil’, ‘Light Over Darkness’ and ‘Universal Brotherhood’.
The stadium and baseball field were specially decorated with millions of Diwali lights and other decorations were visible several miles away. The main entrance gates and nearly 100 merchandize/food booths were draped in multicolored silk and lights. These booths sold traditional Diwali items including, Diwali candles, jewelry, fashion clothing, make up items for ladies and toys. A number of banks, financial institutions and companies promoted their services. A Ladies Bazaar – or Meena Bazaar – selling items exclusively for ladies was a big hit. A traditional Golu display was set up by Meenakshi temple in one of the booths; for the first time.
The ceilings and walls of the concourse and field were fully decorated with traditional banners, Hanuman and Ram ji flags, hangings, religious pictures and deities.
A food Bazaar served traditional vegetarian food from every part of India, so that no palate remained unsatisfied.
The festival specially catered to children with free henna booths, face painting, balloons, moon walk, merry-go-round, shooting Ravan game, Ravan piñatas, petting zoo, pony rides, clowns, toys and golf cart rides and many more.
The stage performance was presented on a 2-tiered 60 ft.by 40 ft. stage, located at 2nd base. Professionally installed stage lights, special effects and huge LED screens made this memorable evening the best Diwali-Dussehra event ever not only in Houston but also one of its kind in the United State . The performances included several folk dances from various parts of India. Two prominent plays , one showing the famous Kings and Queens of India from Satyug, down to the modern age as well as the play depicting the origin of Goddess Laxmi, the Goddess of Wealth was dramatic and very effective.
The traditional Ram Leela Play; the incredible play on Lord Ram’s life and the final battle to overcome the Evil incorporated some on-stage magic this year. The special spiritual dance by an artist brought from Egypt was a show stopper. A special segment ( Children’s costume competition) showcased nearly 100 children dressed up as different characters from Indian scriptures & costumes.
Alongside the performance stage was a towering 24-foot tall figure of Lord Hanuman plus a new addition; a 35-foot tall figure of Lord Ram. Two Ram Temples were beautifully established, one in the main concourse and the other one in the field with two white life sized elephants stationed on either side.
A special tribute was paid to slain trail blazer and brilliant Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal .
Another tribute was offered to the leadership and the volunteers of Howdy Modi team for putting together an event during Prime Minister Modi’s recent visit which brought the two powerful democracies of USA and India much closer to each other.
The event at Skeeters also featured a large multicolored, magnificent parade with 50 floats by presented by local temples and charitable organizations depicting scenes, stories and characters from Indian scriptures. The Howdy Modi volunteers were part of the Dussehra parade. Ram and Sita ji also majestically rode in a beautiful horse drawn buggy, in the parade, along with numerous floats. There were nearly 1,500 people in the parade this year. The Houston parade is unique and has earned laurels in the US for its quality, content and unique presentation. Highlights of this Festival were shown last year in about 100 countries and about numerous news papers covered this event in India.
Dussehra is not complete without demonstrating the destruction of Evil and the victory of Goodness. What better way to deliver this message home than through burning of the effigies of the evil figures of ‘Ravan’, ‘Kumbhakaran’ and ‘Meghnath’, specially built for this occasion. The evil was consumed by fire and the euphoria of the victory of Goodness was celebrated through bursting of fire crackers and a magnificent display of aerial fireworks display and shouts of Jai Shri Ram!
It was to the delight of more than 10,000 people when they witnessed rose flower petals literally falling on them from sky through the Helicopter , towards the later stages of the event.
It was an amazing show to celebrate the sense of togetherness with rich Indian tradition, culture, food, dance, music, feeling of perfect Divinity, purity of heart, spreading the fragrance of human virtues, illumination of inner enlightenment and celebration of the power of consciousness. The Foundation thanks all sponsors, vendors, volunteers, supporters and performers for their support in putting this mega community event together.