This Friday, August 13, all are welcome to our August Global Grub and Groove event celebrating Indian Independence Day. Highlands Council would like to thank the Issaquah Arts Commission for making this event possible.
Highlands Council produced this month’s event in partnership with five Issaquah Highlands teens who are passionate about sharing their culture and unique talents with the community. Read on to learn more about Indian Independence Day and some of the Indian traditions they’ll share at our upcoming event.
The Personal Significance of Indian Independence Day
I am very proud of my Indian heritage. I was born in England and came to America at age five. Indian Independence Day is one thing that brings me closer to my Indian culture.
My parents were not born in India, but my grandparents tried to teach them our family’s language, Punjabi, and cook our cuisine, which my parents have passed on to my brothers and me (even though we cannot speak Punjabi fluently, much to their dismay).
I cannot imagine how it must have felt on that momentous day, August 15, 1947 – Indian Independence Day. At that time, my grandmother was in Ludhiana, India. She spoke about another event that occurred on that day, how India and Pakistan separated to become two independent countries. She described it as a moment of conflicting emotions – happiness, grief, liberation, and loss – as the country divided into two nations. Thousands of people were killed on both sides of the division, which resulted in rioting and civil unrest. Now, we honor those who have passed away. In India, the prime minister hoists the national flag and gives a speech to the nation at the Red Fort in Delhi, there is a 21-gun salute, and kites fly in all forms, colors, and sizes.
I am extremely fortunate to live in a community that celebrates this day and my family’s beautiful culture.
— Jaya Sathi, eighth grade
On Traditional Indian Art: Rangoli
Rangoli is an intricate art form that originates from India, typically created during festive times. The designs are composed of geometric patterns that emulate mandalas. Rangoli can be designed with a variety of materials, including flower petals and dry rice flour. I love rangoli because of the endless possibilities and potential to be creative. When I was younger, my maternal grandmother, or “naani,” taught me how to draw my favorite mandala-based rangoli designs, such as flowers with lotus-shaped petals.
At our upcoming Global Grub and Groove event celebrating Indian Independence Day, look for rangoli-like artwork drawn around Village Green Park using colored chalk.
— Anika Mehta, 12th grade
On Traditional Indian Music
Music is a big part of Indian culture. Any Indian celebration, whether it’s a festival, wedding, or Independence Day, is centered around music. I fell in love with Indian classical music from the start and, at age nine, started learning the tabla, a classical Indian percussion instrument. At my very first lesson, I took to the beat and fell in love with the instrument. Since then, I’ve recorded two CDs, performed in many concerts, and have accompanied many other classical instruments. For me, playing tabla is a great stress reliever, as it takes away any stress and worries.
— Arya Mahajan, 10th grade
On Traditional Indian Dance
Dancing is an integral part of Indian culture and a form of celebration at weddings and festivals. Every state in India has its own dance forms. A few forms of Indian dance include Kathak, Bharatanatyam, Kathakali, Kuchipudi, Odissi, Bhangra, and Garba. Bollywood dance is another form that combines elements of Indian classical/folk dances with jazz, hip-hop, Arabic, and Latin dance.
I have been Bollywood dancing since fourth grade and I really enjoy it. Dance has been an artistic outlet for me and a way to express myself. Bollywood dance allows dancers to personalize their dances to be graceful, energetic or both. Bollywood is also the world’s largest film industry in terms of the number of movies produced and tickets sold each year. Music plays a major role in Bollywood movie. I love watching the actors dance, listening to them sing, and dancing along.
— Vernika Jain, 11th grade
Click here for more details on our upcoming Global Grub and Groove event celebrating Indian Independence Day, emceed by teen volunteer and ninth-grader Ryan Aby. Ryan, and all of the teen volunteers who helped organize this event, are members of the Issaquah Highlands Youth Advisory Board.