Author: Subhashini Yegappan
The Nagarathars of Bay Area celebrated Deepavali, the festival of lights, on Sunday, Oct 26, 2014. It was a green, eco friendly Deepavali celebration which included half hour of cultural performances followed by an hour of Dandiya, dinner and socialization. The cultural performances were timed just right to welcome the crowd and getting them into the festive mood. The cultural performances included devotional songs, filmy song and dance performances and a fashion show. As the crowd was looking forward to what is coming up next, the chairs were removed and the hall was set for Dandiya.
Achis, Chettiars and kids were dressed in trendy ensembles and picked up the Dandiya sticks to reserve their spots. The Dandiya dance was choreographed and lead by one of the Dandiya experts in the Bay Area, who the crowd followed along all the way through. Nagarathars danced to the tunes of Dandiya in colorful attires as they learned to strike the wooden sticks to the rhythmic beats of Dandiya music. The dance was choreographed to the beats of both Kollywood and Bollywood tracks. There was a phenomenal response from the Chettiar families as they stepped in and welcomed a new tradition. The organizers had initially thought to facilitate much lesser count of Dandiya sticks however all 60+ sticks were all gone once the fun began. Almost the entire crowd had participated in an hour long Dandiya dancing.
Dandiya is said to be India's aerobics and exercising can never be so much fun especially when you are around with your friends and family from the community. The Deepavali organizers Supriya and Ramesh, Revathi and Sathappan, Sivagami and Murugappan received a lot of kudos from the participants. Mixing dance and fun with fitness, the entire crowd, including kids were all pulled together and engaged to their fullest. Now, that the first couple hours of the event was spent at its best, people were treated with our traditional and best potluck dinner and savories and topped it off with just enough time for socializing.
Nagarathars of Northern California are looking forward to celebrate more festivities like Pillayar Nonbu and Pongal. Visit us at www.encna.org