Suriname observes festival similar to India’s MahakumbhBy Paras Ramoutar, IANS
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Port-of-SPAIN - Hindus in Suriname enthusiastically observed Surya Kumbha Parvaa, a festival that is similar to India’s mammoth Mahakumbh.
The Surya Kumbha Parvaa began Jan 14, the auspicious day of Makar Sankranti.
The festival is similar to the Kumbha Mela Mahotsav celebrated in India in Haridwar, Prayag, Ujjain and Nashik. Millions of people take part in India’s Mahakumbh which is one of the largest congregation of people on the planet.
In capital Paramaribo, the festival was observed at Gobardhan Ghat at the Suriname river that merges in the Atlantic Ocean. People attended from Trinidad, Guyana, the US, French Guyana, India and Netherlands.
People from all walks of life participated in the festival and bathed in the river. People of Indian origin are estimated to be about 150,000, a little over a third of the population of half a million of this Caribbean nation.
Cabinet Minister Ramon Abrahams attended the opening ceremony on behalf of Suriname President D. Bouterse.
Abrahams extended best wishes to the Hindu community and said that this festival shows the country’s rainbow culture and acceptance of a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-religious society. He lauded India’s democracy, culture and economic growth.
The minister said Suriname was proud that Surya Kumbha Parvaa focuses on bringing about the synthesis of all cultures, religions and nationalities.
(Paras Ramoutar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)