Hindu Americans gear up for Hindu Heritage Month celebrations in October

New York: Dharma-based organizations including those of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist and Jain traditions from around the world, have announced the addition of another major festival – an entire month of festivals – in October as the Hindu Heritage Month. 

Based on the “open source” model, the celebration will be a showcase for the diversity that is so fundamental to Hindu civilization. Each participating organization will decide the manner as well as the schedule of their event(s). On a given day, there may be several events taking place in different parts of the United States and Canada. Celebrations may take many forms – cultural programs, fashion shows, webinars, multi-day conferences, walkathons and more, the choices being limited only by our imagination. Some events may be conducted in-person but the majority will be virtual, given the Covid-19 situation. 

Participation is open to all organizations, businesses and individuals that identify with the sanatana (everlasting) values embodied in Hindu dharma. More than 30 organizations have already joined hands in this exciting celebration of our shared heritage; many more are expected to join in the near future. 

Mission Bindi and Hindu Student Council are the first organizations out of the gate to announce their premier event. Following on the success of last year’s celebration, they will be observing the “World Bindi Day” on the first day of Navratri, October 7, 2021. For more details visit www.Hindumonth.org and click on the “2021 World Bindi Day”.

Dr. Jai Bansal, Vice President – World Hindu Council of America, and one of the organizers of this event, underscores the fact that the Hindu community is, by nature, rather unassuming. However, with second and third generations now making their mark in their adopted lands, the time has come for the Hindu community to come out of their shell and talk about its rich cultural heritage and important role in making the multitude of contributions to every aspect of the fabric of the adopted lands.”

Welcoming the decision of the organizers to hold this month-long event, President of the Hindu Student Council (HSC) Arnav Kejriwal said, “HSC is extremely excited about the Hindu Heritage Month. The American experience is all about sharing and learning about each of our unique cultures, traditions and histories.”

Benny Tillman, President of the Vedic Friends Association, enthusiastically endorses this month-long celebration of Hindu culture, “As one of the only African American leaders of a significant Hindu/Vedic organization in North America, I have to say how happy and proud I am to participate in this month-long celebration. Just as the African American community united nationwide to establish the very successful Black History month, and similarly, the Latino community has come together to bring national focus to their unique culture and heritage. Likewise, we followers of this great Hindu/Vedic culture should unite and make the Hindu Heritage Month a tremendous success.”

Putting the celebration in perspective, General Secretary of the World Hindu Council of America (VHPA) Amitabh VW Mittal said, “The Vedic sanatana dharma — which is, with a limited capacity of understanding, referred to as Hinduism — represents the only continuous civilization that has survived the test of time for tens of thousands of years. There is no single book that one can consult to get what the Hindu philosophy is, as it is constantly evolving and its contribution to the human civilization is unmeasurable; its vibrance in fact runs the risk of being misinterpreted. The Hindu Heritage Month will give an opportunity to the world to understand how open and free this philosophy is, which is quite often limited and misrepresented by the tag ‘religion’.”

Seeing this as the community’s chance to communicate to the world in general and the United States and Canada in particular, President of Hindu University of America Kalyan Viswanathan said, “The Hindu Heritage Month is a great opportunity for the Hindu community to remember our collective  journey so far — from the ancient Vedic times, our own golden eras, through the trials and tribulations of conquests and colonization — and look optimistically forward at the opportunity we have for recovering and rearticulating the Hindu worldview for future generations. Amidst the celebrations, I hope we can reflect on what it means to be Hindu in the modern world: whether it is just a matter of being of a certain ethnicity or we have something to say, something to contribute that may just be of immeasurable value to all of humanity.”

General Secretary of Coalition of Hindus of North America (COHNA) Shobha Swami made a point about the diversity of the culture that is going to be celebrated the whole of October. “Multi- generational Hindus from different parts of the world who call the US their home add to the color of the ethnic tapestry here. They would like to showcase their vibrance in arts, dance, music, yoga, meditation, mindfulness, Ayurveda and food in all its richness for this month-long celebration in October,” she said.

Any organization that wishes to participate in the HHM celebration is requested to register as a partner on the website: www.hindumonth.org

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