Bal Vihar students celebrate Republic Day

Bal Vihar judges visiting booths
Bal Vihar children as Indian leaders

ST LOUIS: Bal Vihar, a no profit organization in St Louis, celebrated with pomp and grace India’s 69th Republic Day on January 28 at Ladue Middle School in Ladue, MO. The event was witnessed by St. Louis community special guests from diverse background and culture symbolizing our “Unity in Diversity”.

The event started with students of different age groups showcasing India’s states, their culture, diversity, lifestyle and food. It takes considerable effort to research the information and put that up for display but this benefits the students greatly as they learn more about their own culture and heritage. The special guests who were judges paid visit to the booths to evaluate their effort in content and display.

The youngest students from grade K and 1st focused on spending more time at each of the booth to learn what their older counterparts had researched and put up for display. Grades 2 through 5 focused on six different states of India: Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh. The focus was on Tourism: Cultural, Religious and Adventure. Additional focus was on Nature & Health and Culinary.

It was amazing to see the in-depth research that these students had done to extract very valuable information. All the booths were well decorated with lot of artifacts for display. All the booths had food sample from the region/state that they had put up for display. The students were dressed up in regional/local attire from various parts of India.

Bal Vihar children in Indian attire

Booths of older students in grade 6 and 7 were based on themes that covered the entire country. One such theme was around Harvest Festivals. The students did a terrific job grouping the harvest festivals by region and displaying them. Another theme was “Mystic India” that highlighted mysteries around some of the unique temples/places in India.

This included “Temple of Rats”, Temple with Floating Pillars, Motorcycle Temple, etc. Another group focused on Adventure Tourism highlighting some popular as well as lesser known places that connects you with nature while offering adventure for the enthusiasts. One group solely focused on various cuisines from all four regions of India.

The event climaxed with flag hoisting followed by Bal Vihar ensemble playing the national anthem of India and the United States. Youngest students from grades K and 1 put together a parade dressed up as some of the famous Indian personalities. The guests were honored by Bal Vihar students thanking them for their participation.

Bal Judges
Bal Vihar judges visiting booths

Bal Vihar thanked leaders like Linda Lee- President of Bach Society, Cecilia Nadal – Executive Director of Gitana Production of St. Louis, Sherri Williams – Educator, adult learning at St. Louis Arts Museum, Beth Rodriguez – CEO and Interfaith Consultant St Louis, MO and Indian community leaders Dr. Arekapuri and Dr. Subramanian.

It was another splendid display of India arts, cuisine, culture, heritage and tourism that was mesmerizing. Through these activities, students learn so much about India and its history, region, states and diversity. It is our hope that these events will keep them connected to their roots and excite them about visiting some of these places.

Center for Indian Cultural Education – Bal Vihar of St. Louis, a non-profit organization, since its inception in 1992 has been serving the Metro St. Louis Indian community. The primary focus of this organization is to provide Indian cultural education to students age 5-18 and its application and integration with the global multicultural and multifaceted society. They are also taught discipline, tolerance and devotion in their daily routine. The ultimate goal is “to throw the light of cultural knowledge on every child, to make every child an outstanding citizen and to spread the song of peace and harmony around the world.”

Raj Iyer

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