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St. Mary’s Orthodox Church reaches out to its neighbors with the Atlanta India Festival

November 2018
St. Mary’s Orthodox Church reaches out to its neighbors with the Atlanta India Festival

(Left) St. Mary's Orthodox Church presents its Atlanta India Festival as an outreach to its neighbors.

The Atlanta India Festival serves as the largest annual community outreach program of St. Mary’s Orthodox Church, located at 1950 Old Alabama Road in Roswell, Georgia. The festival was presented free of charge to the community of Roswell and the greater Metro Atlanta area on Saturday, October 13, 2018 from 11am to 7pm. Now in its third year, this celebration draws over 1,500 attendees of all ages and backgrounds.

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Local non-Indian attendees getting mehndi.

Non-Indian neighbors enjoying the Indian food.

A big part of why this festival was started was for local outreach, so that people would understand how diverse the Indian culture is within itself from a food, arts, traditions, religions, etc. perspective. One of the oldest civilizations in the world, India is comprised of 29 states and 7 union territories, with each state having its own unique culture, language, food, art, craft, music, dance, etc. These cultures are connected by shared threads of history and tradition along with political, economic, social, and religious features. Hence, the culture of India is really thousands of unique cultures that are composed of people with different faiths, languages, customs, traditions, art, dance, music, cuisine, etc.

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Indian-American kids as well as mainstream ones enjoy the face painting.

While the majority of our Church members are originally from Kerala, we also have a great amount of diversity in that the majority of our parishioners grew up outside of Kerala in other parts of India, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and America and bring many traditions with them. It is hard to stereotype when you can’t paint everyone with the same brush.

Our church also serves as an official polling place for Fulton County, so many local people around the church are very familiar with the location since they come there multiple times a year to vote. This has allowed us to attract a lot of local people. In fact, Congresswoman Karen Handel, a member of the United States House of Representatives for Georgia's 6th Congressional District, came this year. She is from the local area and maintains her Georgia office in Roswell. She was excited to see St. Mary’s Church members doing such a great community outreach event in her home district.


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The nail painting booth.

Visitors to this year’s Atlanta India Festival enjoyed a memorable glimpse and taste of these diverse cultures and traditions.

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Tug of War!

The festival is run by volunteers from the church and was supported this year by almost thirty sponsors comprised of local and national businesses and individuals. This year’s festival featured a free Medical Camp staffed by physicians and nurse practitioners with expertise in areas such as cardiology, gastroenterology, internal medicine, pediatrics, and rheumatology. There was an Artist’s Market, Team Sports Competitions (Tug of War and Volleyball), Food Festival, Children’s Activities, and a variety of Cultural Music and Dance Performances.

Website Bonus Feature

More information on the Atlanta India Festival can be found at: www.atlantaindiafestival.com

[The article above is a Website Bonus Feature, appearing only on the website for August 2018, not in the print/digital issues.]


 Remember, we have new Website Bonus Features that are not in the print magazine. Every time you see the W symbol in the print magazine, you can go to our website to see additional print or audiovisual material!

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