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Festivals of Punjab come to Chicago

June 11, 2010 04:25 IST
The Punjabi Cultural Society of Chicago collaborated with the Chicago Children's Museum to organize 'Passport to the World: India Festival Celebrations' at Navy Pier on May 16.

The PCS performances depicted diverse traditions from the state of Punjab, including the Punjabi folk dances Bhangra and Gidha, performed by youths from the Midwest.

An outdoor procession of more than 200 participants got the festivities going at Navy Pier with dancing in the streets to the beats of the Punjabi drum, played by Kevindeep Singh Atwal, the inter-community director of PCS Chicago. The program moved indoors to the Chicago Children's Museum, where the performances included Bhangra 101 dance lessons, a turban-tying workshop by Sikh American Heritage Organization volunteers, and mehendi art by Rajneesh Kaur Singh helped by Harpreet Kaur Dhillon.

'It is our hope that programs like this help prepare young children to thrive in a world that is increasingly interracial and intercultural,' said Keith McCormick, CCM's director of cultural programs. Mohina Ahluwalia, PCS chairperson, said this 'is an excellent opportunity to share our culture with the children of the mainstream community.'

Rajinder Singh Mago, president, PCS-Chicago, said the program provided an excellent forum to share Punjabi Indian culture, fine art exhibits, music, dance and performing arts with other Americans. Pradeep Singh Deol, youth director of the society, said: 'This will strengthen the understanding of other cultures and of people who may look different or wear different clothing.'

Image: Punjabi dance during the India festival celebrations at Chicago
A Correspondent