Tag Archive | cultural

Happy Diwali!

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Happy Diwali!  I’ve had some sad news recently, so it’s hard to get into the mood for celebrations, but celebrate we must.  Most of my celebrations shown here, took place before the recent sad event, so I am just sharing with you as a way of trying to get over some of my pain.  As you may know, Diwali is known as the Festival Of Lights, and it signifies good over evil, light over darkness, and knowledge over ignorance.  May Diwali shine it’s light on my family, and yours.  May the Goddess Lakshmi shower us with her love and blessings.  If for some reason, the link does not take you to the gif image of Lakshmi,  you may see it here on my Pinterest Board.

Here are some pictures I took at the Diwali Mela in San Diego on October 24, 2015:

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego – 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego – 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego – 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego – 2015

There were ever so many people there, these two pictures will give you a glimpse at part of the crowds, both during daylight and at night – it was packed!

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego – 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego – 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego – 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego – 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego – 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego – 2015

These girls had a very interesting costume, especially the head gear, but it certainly looked nice and colorful!

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego – 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego – 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego – 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego – 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego – 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego – 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego – 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego – 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego – 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego – 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego – 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego – 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego – 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego – 2015

Here, they are dancing with the dandia sticks.  It’s a South Indian dance I believe.

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego – 2015

There were all kinds of dances, even hip hop!

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego – 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego – 2015

Also, there were American girls dancing to Bollywood music.  I think they did a pretty good job.

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego – 2015

Here’s a video of their dance:

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego – 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego – 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego – 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego – 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego – 2015

Here is a video that includes a variety of the performances.

Unfortunately, I could not include all of the performances or show the entirety of each performance.  I hope  you like the videos, and I hope you like the pictures.

I also hope you will candles, and illuminate your home with just candlelight later this evening.  Remember, let light prevail over darkness.

Diwali Candles

Diwali Lights

Don’t forget to eat some Indian food – how could you not when it’s Diwali!   I have some virtual food and drink just for you!  Here’s naan bread with lentils, chicken curry, rice and raita (Indian yoghurt).

Indian Food

Indian Food

I love samosas, you can’t enjoy Diwali without samosas, or at least I think so.

Samosas

You might even want to have a special dish of mine – my very favorite, and of course it’s a Punjabi dish – Makhi Di Roti (bread made from corn meal/corn flour) and Saag (spinach)!  You must give this one a try!

Makhi Di Roti and Saag

Makhi Di Roti and Saag

After this, you must have sweets.   You must have burfi (can’t even describe how delicious they are – Indian fudge is the closes I can get to it, and oh, how I love fudge!).  Then there’s gulab jamun (syruppy goodness) and jalebi (sticky and syruppy goodness).

Ambala Sweets & Snacks, Artesia

Ambala Sweets & Snacks, Artesia

Gulab Jamun

Gulab Jamun

Jalebi

Jalebi

You might want to try kheer, which is basically a delicious rice pudding dish – it is a little less sweet than the jalebi and gulab jamun. Sorry about the quality of this picture.

Kheer

Kheer

Want more sweets?  I knew you would!

Indian Sweets - Mithai

Indian Sweets – Mithai

Then, if you’re like me, you’ll have to wash the sweets down with a delicious cup of chai.

Cup of Indian Chai

Cup of Indian Chai

Now, hopefully that was a nice Diwali, some pictures, some entertainment, some food, some sweets and some tea!

Guess what? For the first time ever, we have been given the day off for Diwali in the USA and they didn’t even know they were giving us the day off for our special holiday!  They thought they were giving us a day off for Veterans Day, well….I am very glad that we have Veterans Day!  Thank you to all those who served, and made this day possible so that we could all be off together, and celebrate away from work!  Please can we make Veterans Day next year be on Diwali too?  Please?  I don’t think it will happen again, as Diwali is on different days, sometimes in October, and sometimes in November.  Still, it doesn’t hurt to ask or wish for it…….please, let it be on a holiday again, or better still – give us Diwali off (wishful thinking)!!!  Anyway, must go and enjoy Diwali now.  Happy Veterans Day, and Happy Diwali!

Diwali Mela in San Diego – So Colorful!

The Diwali Mela took place in the Black Mountain Road area of Mira Mesa, San Diego on October 25, 2014.  It was a packed-out event, and a great way to spend the evening.  There were many performances to Bollywood songs, and of course at least one to Bhangra!

Here are some pictures, and at the bottom of this page, you can see some videos that I made.  If there is one thing that should strike you from looking at the pictures is that Indian outfits are so colorful, as well as pretty!

Diwali Mela, San Diego

Diwali Mela, San Diego

Diwali Mela, San Diego

Diwali Mela, San Diego

Diwali Mela, San Diego

Diwali Mela, San Diego

Now, for a break away from the performances – just take a look at all the people, and there were more!

Diwali Mela, San Diego

Diwali Mela, San Diego

I tried a few different dishes including the Punjabi Karhi and Rice, one of my favorites – I should have taken a picture! I did take one of the Alloon Paratha – which were quite delicous (bread stuffed with potatoes and spices, that is cooked on a tava or griddle, and then smothered with oil or butter).

Diwali Mela, San Diego

Diwali Mela, San Diego

Now back to the pictures of the performers.

Diwali Mela, San Diego

Diwali Mela, San Diego

Diwali Mela, San Diego

Diwali Mela, San Diego

Diwali Mela, San Diego

Diwali Mela, San Diego

Diwali Mela, San Diego

Diwali Mela, San Diego

Diwali Mela, San Diego

Diwali Mela, San Diego

Diwali Mela, San Diego

Diwali Mela, San Diego

Diwali Mela, San Diego

Diwali Mela, San Diego

Diwali Mela, San Diego

Diwali Mela, San Diego

Diwali Mela, San Diego

Diwali Mela, San Diego

Diwali Mela, San Diego

Diwali Mela, San Diego

DSC01085

I hope that added some color into your day!

Here is the video showing the Punjabi dance:

Here is the video showing the Rajasthan dance:

Here is the video showing a variety of the performances, including the women’s fashion show and the men’s fashion show.

Don’t miss the performance towards the end of this last video showing a dance to Bang Bang – the Bollywood movie starring Hrithik Roshan, and watch out for the little boy in the audience who definitely has dance fever!

Diwali at Balboa Park, 2014

I love Diwali, the Indian Festival Of Lights that is celebrated by Indians all over the world.  Diwali has its roots in the story of Rama and Sita, and while I won’t go into the historical aspect – let’s just say that Diwali shows us how good triumphs over evil.  We celebrate this wonderful time with family, friends, good food, music and often entertainment. While Diwali is on October 23rd this year, we celebrated it in Balboa Park on October 18th.  Here are some pictures taken at the Organ Pavilion – the site of the 7th Annual Diwali Celebration in Balboa Park.

Balboa Park Organ Pavilion

Balboa Park, Diwali Celebration – 2014

Balboa Park,  Diwali Celebration - 2014

Balboa Park, Diwali Celebration – 2014

Now pictures of the performances: this was the group from Tamil Nadu

Balboa Park,  Diwali Celebration - 2014

Balboa Park, Diwali Celebration – 2014

This was the group from Rajasthan and I am proud to say that my daughter is a member of this dance group, and this group dances fabulously!

Balboa Park,  Diwali Celebration - 2014

Balboa Park, Diwali Celebration – 2014

This is the group from the Punjab – I have to say that I love Punjabi music and dance, and this group is fabulous too!

Balboa Park,  Diwali Celebration - 2014

Balboa Park, Diwali Celebration – 2014

This is my daughter right before the show.

Balboa Park,  Diwali Celebration - 2014

Balboa Park, Diwali Celebration – 2014

This is a picture of her group performing in a different show

Rajasthan Dance Performance in San Diego

Rajasthan Dance Performance in San Diego

Well, the Organ Pavilion surely looks colorful!

Balboa Park,  Diwali Celebration - 2014

Balboa Park, Diwali Celebration – 2014

Oh, by the way, I uploaded a video to YouTube of the Rajasthani Dance, you can see the link below (first video).  I have now uploaded another video of the Punjabi Dance (second video).  Want to know something?  My camcorder’s battery died and I had been so busy earlier in the day rushing around that I forgot to charge it.  I had to use my Samsung Galaxy Note 3 to make the video – I hope you like it!

Happy Diwali to all those who celebrate this de-light-ful holiday.  May the lights shine brightly on you and may you be blessed with a fabulous year full of happiness, peace and prosperity.

Diwali Mela, 2013 – San Diego

Diwali is always special here in San Diego, and this year was no different.  First, we had the wonderful Festival Of Lights in Balboa Park, then we had the Diwali Mela just last weekend on November 9th.  The Mela always takes place in front of the Shri Mandir on Black Mountain Road in San Diego’s Mira Mesa area.  That’s also where one of my favorite Indian fast-food/snack restaurants are: Surati (see pictures of their yummy sweets right here).  Here’s just a few pictures:

Diwali Mela, 2013

Diwali Mela, 2013

Diwali Mela, 2013 - San Diego

Diwali Mela, 2013 – San Diego

DSC00735

Diwali Mela, 2013 – San Diego

DSC00737

Diwali Mela, 2013 – San Diego

Diwali Mela, 2013

Diwali Mela, 2013

This picture was taken of the group in the video below, but the picture was not taken at the Diwali Mela, it was taken earlier in the year when they performed to the same dance:

Indian Dance

Indian Dance

Here’s my video of just one of the performances…..I hope you enjoy it.

Happy Diwali from San Diego

Happy Diwali from San Diego again!  This time the festivities took place just outside the Shri Mandir at the annual Diwali Mela on Black Mountain Road in Mira Mesa (about 15 minutes north of downtown San Diego).  The 2012 Diwali Mela in San Diego was held on Saturday, October 27th.

First, some pictures:

Rajasthan Dance at Shri Mandir, San Diego – Diwali Mela

Diwali Mela 2012 at Shri Mandir, San Diego

Incase you didn’t see my pictures of Diwali at Balboa Park in San Diego, here are three more:

5th Annual Diwali Celebration – Balboa Park, San Diego

Diwali 2012 – Balboa Park – San Diego

Organ Pavilion Diwali Celebration, Balboa Park, San Diego

Now for a video where I put a few clips together, but there are many dances that I did not capture  unfortunately.  I also had to cut out a lot from the dances because of background noise.   In this video, first you will see a Punjabi dance – Bhangra (one of my favorites – especially since my family is from the Punjab), then you will see a dance from Rajasthan, and then another few clips.  At the end of this video, you will see some little kids dancing to Kolaveri Di, which is a cute song that turned out to be very popular, and even my little Chandi sings to it whenever she hears it.

I really wanted to add some more pictures in this post of Indian sweets from a local place on Black Mountain Road, which is a great alternative to going all the way up to Artesia (about one hour and 15 minutes away from where I live). Perhaps, I will add some pictures later on – maybe even on November 13th – the actual day of Diwali.  Just fyi – Black Mountain Road is San Diego’s Little India, and Artesia is Los Angeles’ Little India.  I really do enjoy going up to Artesia, as there are more stores and Indian restaurants, but I am beginning to get used to our own Little India in San Diego, and love one or two of the places there, such as Ashoka The Great Restaurant, and Surati Farsan Mart (the place where I will get my Indian sweets from this year).

Here’s the video of the performances at Balboa Park in San Diego at the 5th Annual Diwali Celebration on October 21st.  Here you will see dances from the many regions of India including Andhra Pradesh, Bengal, Kerala, Karnataka, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu.  You will also see the Diwali Lights display towards the end of the video, and then a finale where everyone dances to Bhangra on the stage.

A new addition to this post – it is now November 12th, and I just got my sweets from Surati Farsan Fart, and here’s some pictures of the fantastic selections:

Surati Farsan Mart, Black Mountain Road, Mira Mesa, San Diego

I just had to get some jalebis, these are yummy and so sweet (actually they have a lot of syrup, and have a great crunch to them)!

Jalebis from Surati Farsan Mart, San Diego

These two boxes have mango burfi in one box (second selection from the top left in the picture from the display selection – see above)

Diwali Sweets, Surati Farsan Mart

The second box has laddoo in them which can be seen more clearly in the picture below.  Laddoo are the yellowish round balls in the first big box  on the top shelf (on the left).  These laddoo are absolutely delicious, and have raisins in them – they almost melt in your mouth!

Indian Sweets, Surati Farsan Mart

I hope you like the videos, and pictures, and I hope you will celebrate in some way on November 13th – even if you light just one or two candles.  Happy Diwali!

Happy Diwali and Happy Holidays from Balboa Park!

Happy Diwali, and Happy Holidays from Balboa Park!  The holidays are just around the corner, and this is surely a happy time for everyone!  I love the holidays, and I especially love Christmas (the picture below was actually taken in San Diego Zoo, which is adjacent to Balboa Park).

Christmas in San Diego – San Diego Zoo

I also love Diwali, which is the Indian Festival of Lights celebrated by Indians of all different faiths, Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, and many others.  Diwali falls on a different day each year, but that day will be either in October or November of the year.  This year, Diwali will be on November 13th, but it was celebrated on October 21st at Balboa Park.

Diwali is a colorful festival, and it’s significance is rooted in several epics and stories. The festival celebrates the triumph of good over evil, and is celebrated with lights, especially candles and diyas.  People rejoice in the occasion, and have parties, and there is definitely a lot of Indian sweets being sold and consumed at this time.  If you would like to know more about Diwali, you can read this article: http://festivals.iloveindia.com/diwali/diwali-significance.html or http://www.diwaliinlondon.com/whatisdiwali.html.  To read more about this year’s Diwali Celebration and an article where San Diego Mayor Proclaims “Festival Of Lights” Day, click here: http://www.indiajournal.com/archives/30604

Here is a picture of the Indian sweets (they are delicious).

Ambala Sweets and Snacks, Artesia

Here’s some pictures taken at the 5th Annual Diwali Celebration at Balboa Park.  All the performances were held at the beautiful Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park.

Diwali Celebration, Balboa Park, San Diego

The night begin with the Indian National Anthem, and I have enclosed my video of this – now you will get to see a little more of the Organ Pavilion too.

Here is my video that shows a variety of performances that depict the many regions of India, therefore, you will see dances from Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Rajasthan, etc.  You may be amazed to see there are so many variations of dance styles according to the region of India that the dance is from.

Here is my video of just one performance to show you a dance in its entirety, and this is the Rajasthan Dance.

These are some pictures of the performances

Diwali Celebration, Balboa Park, San Diego

Diwali Celebration, Balboa Park, San Diego

Diwali Celebration, Balboa Park, San Diego

This picture doesn’t really do it justice, but this is when the Diwali Lights were on display, and it was a beautiful scene.  All the women on the stage were holding trays with candles – Balboa Park was truly lit up!

Diwali Lights Ceremony, Balboa Park, San Diego

In addition to the Annual Diwali Celebration where many Indian dances were performed, Indian dances are also performed during the December Nights outside the Houses of Hospitality at the International Cottages.

December Nights, Indian Dance, San Diego

Here’s some pictures taken at December Nights, 2011.  I will of course be taking more pictures at this year’s December Nights (I wouldn’t miss it)!

December Nights - Balboa Park, San Diego

December Nights – Balboa Park, San Diego

December Nights, Balboa Park, San Diego

It does get a little chilly in the evening during the December Nights celebration, so you will definitely want to wear a sweater or a jacket.  There is plenty of food on sale, including stalls selling food from all around the world, close to the Houses of Hospitality, and practically all over the park.  If you are in the mood for fine dining, then you might want to check out the Prado on the Park Restaurant.

Prado On The Park, Balboa Park, San Diego

Here are more pictures of Balboa Park (all three pictures were taken a number of years ago, and were scanned in).  It will definitely be time to take more pictures soon of Balboa Park!

Balboa Park, San Diego

Balboa Park, San Diego

This one was taken at the Botanical Gardens in Balboa Park

You may know or have heard of Balboa Park in beautiful San Diego…..if not, you need to visit it soon as it is a fantastic place to visit.  This park is adjacent to the world famous San Diego Zoo, and Balboa Park is so much more…..it is highly cultural.  It houses the International Cottages where you can visit the House of Scotland, the House of England, the House of Russia, etc., and try a sample of food that comes from that region.  However, when it comes to the holidays, such as Diwali (Indian Festival of Lights) and Christmas (now called December Nights instead of Christmas on the Prado) – there is no better place than Balboa Park to celebrate in style!  Not only can you enjoy a world class park in a world class city, but you can enjoy world class cultural arts and entertainment.

You can read much more about December Nights at http://www.sandiego.org/events/balboa-park-december-nights.aspx and at http://sandiego.about.com/cs/familyfun/a/dec_nights.htm

Looking for something fun to do this holiday?  Why not come to San Diego, and come to our December Nights….it will be hosted on two different days: Friday, December 7 and Saturday, December 8, 2012.  This is a fun event for all the family, and highly entertaining!  Kick off the holidays in style!