Festival of Lights activities featured online

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The local Indian cultural celebration “Deepotsav 2020 — A virtual Celebration” is online through much of the month of November on the Facebook page for Columbus Ganesh Mandal.

Deepotsav is a Hindi word meaning “festival of lanterns or light.” The gathering is sometimes better known as the exuberant Diwali, also considered the festival of lights, held on Saturday.

The event is particularly associated with Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity, and marks the beginning of the fiscal year in India. In some parts of the country, it is a five-day festival.

In the past, organizers have pointed out that pointed out that several faiths embrace Diwali, and even those with no particular spiritual allegiance.

The Columbus Ganesh Mandal organizes Deepotsav, which focuses on a wide range of art and the arts in general. The Mandal, meaning council, is the same entity that organizes the local Ganesh Festival that attracts more than 1,000 people to the Commons every year or a gathering of Hindu-related spirituality, unity and the arts.

Bartholomew County includes a growing population estimated at 4,000 people from India. Those residents say such activities give them a warm feeling of home, and help them share some of their heritage with the local community. They also say these events are significant to make the area more welcoming to those moving here from all across the globe.

Especially since the mid-1980s and the creation of the Ethnic Expo international festival, county leaders have emphasized the importance of ethnic groups sharing elements of their homeland with others. The need for that also has been supported by surveys from The Heritage Fund — the Community Foundation of Bartholomew County and groups such as the Columbus Area Multi-Ethnic Organization.

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“The Columbus Ganesh Mandal endeavors to serve the cause of raising awareness about Indian art and culture,” said Sharvari Kolhatkar, one of the organizers and vice president of the Columbus Ganesh Mandal.

Saturday’s livestream at 10 a.m. will include “Surprabhat: A Concert of Multilingual Melodies” program, showcasing music and dance from local performers.

Information and the full schedule: columbus ganesh.com.

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