International

NATIONALITIES ADD COLOR, CULTURAL TEXTURES, HOOSIER INTERNATIONAL SPIRIT TO THE 2019 IPL 500 FESTIVAL PARADE

May 27, 2019 10:58 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (KP SINGH)

The IPL 500 Festival Parade was a colorful and exciting lead-in to the 103rd 500-Mile Race, the greatest spectacle in car-racing in the world. The 500 Festival is proud organizer and host of this third largest Parade in the Nation with over 300,000 spectators along the three mile Parade Route through Downtown Indianapolis and a television audience in the millions.

  
  
 
 
One of the spectacular additions to this annual Parade line for the past 11 years has been the invitation to the Nationalities Council of Indiana (NCI) to participate with a Unit that includes representatives of many countries and cultures that today make-up the population of Indiana. As in each previous year, up to a 200-strong contingent of international representatives in native traditional festive dresses and cultural expressions, including the Hoosier Sikh Americans with their colorful turbans and brocaded Punjabi fashions have participated in the Parade. Occasional special music and robust Punjabi Bhangra dancing have created audience excitement and sometimes spontaneous participation along the Parade Route. A column of dazzling colors, native fashions, and 50 nationalities made the 2019 NCI Parade Unit.

This was a brilliant idea, creating a sense of belonging and paying tribute to all cultures and nationalities that make Indiana home. How beautiful - that amidst the dozens of interesting floats: the City, State, and international celebrities; Police motorcycle drills and Military-themed floats; 500-Festival Princesses and race car drivers; vintage cars and magnificent horse drawn carriages; celebrated singers and dancers; spirited world-class marching bands and enthusiastic spectators; - there were the crowd-pleasing Chinese Dragon Dancers and Ribbon Twirlers; magnificently-dressed Ballet Folklorico and -Mosaicos contingents, and a riot of color and vibrant energy of the Nationalities Parade Unit, giving Hoosier families and national audiences a glimpse of stories, myths, cultural heritage and spirit of their native worlds.

Community-based involvements are especially significant for Hoosier Sikh Americans. They have been actively engaged in community and cultural celebrations; networking with civic and educational institutions and interfaith communities; serving and supporting worthy initiatives over the past half a century in Indiana that include: 500-Festival Parade, International Festival, Asian Fest, 9/11 Community Celebration, Interfaith gatherings, Fundraising for Disaster Relief, Hunger, and other worthy initiatives. Hoosier Sikhs have been hard at work in search of a rightful place for their cultural heritage and faith traditions and opportunities to serve and connect with other ethnic and nationality groups and generously adding to the culture and spirit of the State with activities and commitments that benefit all Hoosiers and Americans.

As Hoosier Sikh Americans we are proud of our modest and sustained efforts at mainstreaming, connecting and serving, and advancing common interests as a solemn commitment and visionary dimension of our faith lessons and cultural heritage. We are encouraged to see young generation ready to build upon our efforts and lead.

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