An “Aohbaan” calling all to enjoy
Photo: Clay—a Bengali art medium.
On May 5th, 2012 at Norcross High School, the Bengali Association of Greater Atlanta (BAGA) presented Aohbaan—a cross-community festival inviting people and organizations from within and outside the South Asian community to join hands and spend a day celebrating our South-Asian culture with a slice of Bengali heritage.
Photo: A high-flying cross-cultural festival.
The idea of Aohbaan was conceived so that at least once a year BAGA could reach out and extend an invitation to other communities and organizations to come together and celebrate the common spirit of being South Asian. The timing for such a program fit perfectly with the celebration of Rabindranath Tagore’s 151st birthday, celebrated on 25th of Baisakh (Pachishe Baishakh), because Tagore not only wrote the all-inclusive national anthem of India, but also made an aohbaan (a ‘call of welcome’) to everyone to come to Vishwa Bharati (his international university in Santiniketan) to join hands, share thoughts, ideas, and common causes and celebrate our nation.
Photo: Children enjoyed drawing and coloring.
Food, Fest, Fashion, Fun, and Finale: Food included Bengali vegetarian and non-vegetarian snacks, biryani, Mughlai, kabobs, rolls, chaat and mithai (sweets). A Festive ambience of songs, dances, exercises, skits, acts, and art forms added color and vigor. One distinctive feature of the event was the street theatre, with many performances among the guests. Another was an art gallery featuring amateur, seasoned, and professional artists. A highlight in the afternoon was a zumba team engaged as a flash mob that brought the crowd to its feet. Local businesses displayed Fashion items and various services. The Fun section involving kids’ corner, art corner, face painting, mehndi, sketching, put-put golf, sketches, and other activities kept kids and families occupied. The Finale, a tribute to Tagore called “Where the mind is without fear”, explored Tagore’s multi-faceted genius, his awe-striking personality, and his inner sanctum.
With more than 1000 guests, 30 organizations and groups, 5 charities, 4 dance schools, 3 music schools, 1 Taekwondo school and 150 volunteers, Aohbaan was a show to remember.
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