Page 24

24 India Post

Community Across America

November 18, 2016

www.indiapost.com

Bal Vihar celebrates Diwali with Puja & crackers NANDITA SATHEESKUMAR & SRINI PANDIRI

ST LOUIS: Diwali, the Festival of Lights, a much beloved and cherished celebration at Bal Vihar of St. Louis, was celebrated on Sunday November 6 at the Hindu Temple of St. Louis and at the neighboring Mahatma Gandhi Center with a lot of fanfare and enthusiasm. The 24th Bal Vihar Diwali cel-

hymns by the temple priests, in the mandir, where a large number of children sat in rows. Students and faculty alike were led through the hour-long puja and everyone participated with great enthusiasm. The priests explained a few facets and the significance and spirit of the puja. While the puja was in full swing, a group of Bal Vihar parent volunteers packed boxed dinners for all attendees, while another group prepared for the firecracker distribution to students. To ensure safety of all present, the area between the Gandhi Center and the Hindu Temple was cordoned off. Upon completion of Diwali puja the children were led to the Mahatma Gandhi Center. Food and Bal Vihar Chief Sudhir Parikh addressing firecrackers were Diwali gathering distributed in an efebrations began amidst the chant- ficient and flawless manner. With ing of Vedic invocations and dusk falling and with the backdrop

Bal Vihar children attending Diwali celebrations

of the temple -all decorated with a thousand colorful string lights the area was soon lit with sparkles, different fireworks and joy was in the air. The finale fireworks display was nothing short of spectacular and indeed, it was a glimpse of India, right here in St. Louis, for all, especially the children! Founded in 1992, the Center for Indian Cultural Education - Bal Vihar of St. Louis (a non-profit or-

ganization) promotes, instills and fosters Indian culture in children of Indian origin, ages 5 and above. Its curriculum presents a broad spectrum: from Indian cultural values, to geography and history, to festivals, to religion. The Youth Group is also involved in many community projects that consolidate their sense of community responsibility and of integrating multi-cultures. Bal Vihar volunteer staff consists of professional in-

dividuals and dedicated parents, who have a keen interest in sustaining cultural values in their children. With a current enrollment of about 450 students, and having served more than 2000 children, Bal Vihar continues to help the future citizens discover their cultural identity, and to appreciate its application in their life and in the multicultural and multifaceted society that they live in.

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