MELA: A celebration of Indian culture  

By on May 13, 2015

Spend an afternoon in Lititz Springs Park celebrating Indian-American culture, history and food at the MELA Festival, set for May 30 at 3 p.m.

The event is sponsored by IAFGL (The Indian American Fusion Group of Lancaster), and was the idea of Satish Dwivedi, a resident of Lititz and an audio technician with Clair Global.

The word “mela,” in Sanskrit, means “to meet or gather.” It is also used synonymously for a “Fair” The South Asian Diaspora has brought this concept to the rest of the world and the English language has adopted this word to mean theme-based exhibitions, gathering or fairs.

MELA will include entertainers, merchants, food courts and fine art demonstrations, with fun activities for all ages.

“At this coming event attendees will experience and get to understand and enjoy Indian culture up-close and personal,” said Dwivedi. “As organizer, I believe that Lititz residents, being the ‘cool’ folks they are, will openly embrace and love the experience.”

Guests will have chances to enjoy delicious, internationally-popular Indian food like vegetable samosa, vegetable samosa chaat, crisp triangle turnovers stuffed with spiced potatoes, peas and cumin, chicken curry and a blend of vegetables cooked in exotic spices herb and roots. Mango lassi (a refreshing mango flavored yogurt drink) and a variety of desserts will be available.

All sorts of Indian apparel will be offered for sale, including kurtas, kameez, bangles and other dress items.

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Henna artist Zainab will be applying mehendi and turmeric staining (a Vedic tradition centered on the idea of “awakening the inner light.”) applied to hands and feet on which beautiful designs are imprinted. Face painting will be offered by Shade Louise of Shade Louise Art. Balloon artist Zachary Berra will entertain the kids.

Dwivedi and Lititz Mayor Tim Snyder will be on hand for meet and greets.

Entertainment will take place from 4 to 8 p.m.

John Protopapsa will play the sitar. Rayna Hample will lead a Hershey Gymnastics group dance. Dave Johnson, Oz Christ, and the Jimmy Sexton Experiment will entertain, as will the Rebel Heart Irish Dancers. Belly Dancing will be presented by Alis Habibi and Queen Minaya Group, and Adhya Tiwari will perform Indian classical dance.

RSVP to satishussa@gmail.com with the number of individuals attending. Walk-ins are welcome, but prior registration is preferred to help the Indian-American food vendors know how much to prepare. To learn more, visit the Indian American Fusion Group of Lancaster’s website, iafgl.org.

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