Festival of India set to spice up Central Saanich

Cultural and Arts Festival set for weekend in August

For one weekend in August, a little slice of India will once again make an appearance in Central Saanich.

Taking place Aug. 22 and 23, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., the annual Cultural and Arts Festival of India began in 2007 and has been growing each year.

Started by three members, Suresh Basrur, Chaman Singla and his wife Chanchal Singla, the idea came about as a way to bring communities together to learn about Indian culture in Greater Victoria.

After the final Victoria Folk Fest was held in 2006, Basrur said discussions began about continuing to showcase different components of Indian culture at an annual event at the Victoria Hindu Temple and Cultural Centre in Central Saanich.

This year, the theme is fairs, festivals and food. Anyone can visit the temple to enjoy various aspects of Indian culture, including the popular henna designs (also known as mehndi), palm reading and short performances every hour, on the hour.

“There are many talented people in our community who can perform dances, can sing, do music, all kinds of things and there are others who can cook and prepare food,” Basrur said.

As you enter the temple, you’ll be greeted by a small welcoming ceremony, (part of the Indian tradition) which involves putting a dot of coloured paste — known as Bindi — on the forehead for women. Greeters also hand out a few flower petals and sprinkle rose water on the guests.

The event is free to visitors, with some activities charging by donation. Money raised will help fund plans to build a new and larger temple that’s closer to the larger population base in Victoria.

The whole idea of the event is “to have (people) see our culture and experience it,”  Basrur said.

Along with the presentations, there will be Indian clothing for sale along with many types of Indian cuisine.

There will also be an opportunity for patrons to take a tour of the temple as part of the festival to see how Hindus worship, what their rituals are and what their altar looks like.

A large part of the event is audience participation, which the performers encourage at the end of each performance. This can involve women coming up on stage to learn how to wear a sari, and men learning how to wear a turban.

“Participation usually makes it so much more interesting for the visitors. We always have some activities where they are actually participating with the help of our volunteers and they’ll remember that,” Basrur said. “They’ll go home and tell their friends ‘oh we had a great time here because we did this.’ ”

Just Posted

New Star Cinema project approved

Cameo development gets unanimous council thumbs up

Stelly’s sidewalk gets green light

Federal funding brings project to fruition

Witnesses sought for alleged drunk driver crash in Sidney

Crash happened June 16 on East Saanich Rd. and Canora Dr.

Fake crash warns students about real consequences

Saanich Peninsula emergency crews warn against distracted driving

An upstart ferry company might be a Malahat alternative

A new ferry service might alleviate Malahat congestion. Dogwood Ferries is a… Continue reading

VIDEO: B.C.’s ‘unicycle cowboy’ aspires to be rancher one day

Burklan Johnson has only ridden a horse once, but this unicyclist has big plans to become a cowboy.

Rescued Oregon family simply unprepared for adventure, RCMP say

Agencies now helping the group of four get to their destination in Alaska

Canucks release 2018-19 season schedule

Vancouver to face Calgary Flames on Wednesday, Oct. 3, for home opener

VIDEO: Luxury Home and Design Show opens with Italian flare

Event set to run Friday to Sunday at BC Place in Vancouver

Small new charge on BC Hydro bills goes toward new crisis fund

The new fund aims to help customers who find themselves in financial emergencies

UPDATED: Crown appeals B.C. polygamous leader’s acquittal in child bride case

James Oler had been charged with taking his underage daughter to the U.S. to marry her off

Fake cops ‘arrest’ woman, steal $6,000 in latest CRA scam

Vancouver police urge people not take calls from anyone saying they’re from the Canada Revenue Agency

Study shows increase in mountain bike tourism in B.C.

Numbers are up, way up, for bike-related visits to the province

Most Read