SYLVANIA, Ohio (WTVG) – People from across the Toledo area gathered at Centennial Terrace in Sylvania to celebrate Indian culture during the 33rd India Festival.
There was food, dancing, henna tattoos and everything else you might need to experience Indian culture.
13abc spoke with two Indian students from the University of Toledo who came to the United States a year ago to study. They said the festival felt like home.
“It feels like you’re back in India even though you’re not. It’s so great to have just that day when you can feel like you’re back in your country,” says UT student Yash Kakade.
Organizers of the event say the festival aimed to bring people together and educate them about Indian culture.
“We want everyone to be aware of all the different cultures that are out there. Just as we go to other festivals, we want them to come to ours,” says Annu Goelsangal, president of the Hindu Temple of Toledo.
India has 29 states and they were all represented at the festival.
“All states have different culture, different language, different cuisines and this festival brings everyone together and also educates people here a little bit about our past: the liveliness, the performances, the dance forms,” says Ashwini Mudliyar , an Indian student at UT.
Dancing is one of the biggest parts of Indian culture.
“My girls used to dance,” says Goelsangal. “We used to come every year just to encourage them to learn the culture, the dance and to perpetuate it for their children. We use it for everything: weddings, festivals, any type of fun. That’s what’s really fun about it.
“It’s like showcasing our traditions and culture by dancing, singing and, of course, eating,” says Sarma Katrapati, president of the Hindu Temple of Toledo.
The Festival of India was able to connect people in the community through food, dance, shopping and education.
“I think it’s a way to strengthen the connection between American culture and Indian culture,” Kakade says. “America is a place where people come from all over the world, so when they come here they will be able to see for the first time. It’s like a coach of what India is really like.
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