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Indian community celebrates Diwali in Vietnam

Indian community celebrates Diwali in Vietnam

Sunday, November 15, 2015, 16:05 GMT+7

Over 1,000 Indians and their local and foreign friends joined an event at GEM Center in Ho Chi Minh City to celebrate Diwali, or the Festival of Lights, which is the biggest Indian fest of the year, on Saturday evening.

Among the participants were more than 300 Vietnamese and Western friends who like exploring and enjoying India’s cultural features, including food and costumes, governmental departments, diplomatic missions, and an association of reputed corporate and business houses in the city, according to a member of the organizing board.

During the 3-hour event, Abhijeet Sawant, the winner of the Indian Idol show in 2005, and Desi Swagg duo Danielle Rebello and Silvina Fernandes provided a night to remember along with other Indian and Vietnamese dancers.

“Diwali is the biggest festival of the Indian community in Vietnam that celebrates it with a lot of fun and festivities as we have done in the last 15 years,” Ashok Sen, a member of the governing board and head of the culture-sports committee of the Indian Business Chamber in Vietnam, which is the main organizer, told Tuoi Tre News.

“We are happy the Indian community has become more integrated into Vietnamese society, and help spread our unique culture in your country.”

The organizing board will set aside VND100 million (US$4,500) collected via ticket sales and other donations for charity, Sen said.

This festival will continue being organized in the coming years, he added.

Susan Ragsdale, who came from the U.S., told Tuoi Tre News that she was happy to have joined Diwali for the first time.

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Indian and Vietnamese dancers kick off Diwali 2015, organized by the Indian Business Chamber in Vietnam, in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City on November 14, 2015. Photo: Thoai Tran/Tuoi Tre News

“I love Indian culture, including food, costumes, and Bollywood movies,” she said, adding that what Diwali offered her was genuine Indian characteristics she had found in many other places worldwide.

Luong Thi Oanh, a Vietnamese guest, told Tuoi Tre News she was excited to enjoy Indian culture, and this was the third time she had joined the event.

Diwali, or the Festival of Lights, symbolizes the victory of the good over the evil, the spirit of kindness and the joy of sharing.

Considered one of the biggest Indian festivals, Diwali was celebrated with great enthusiasm and happiness across India for five days, from November 9 to 13 this year, with the main celebrations held on the third day.

On the special day, there were fireworks shows and diya ceremonies, during which people lit up cotton string wicks inserted into small pots filled with oil.

People also lit candles all around their houses as a symbol of victory of the good over the evil within an individual.

They also offered prayers to Goddess Lakshmi – The Goddess of Wealth – and sought blessings from her, then wore new clothes and exchanged gifts.

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Thoai Tran - Binh Minh/Tuoi Tre News

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