January the 26th, this past Friday was Indian Republic Day. I almost let it go by without a second thought. Instead, I stopped and went to the Indian consulate in New York for the flag hoisting ceremony.
When you live in a different country, from the one that you were born in, like I do, often times it gets difficult to celebrate the holidays that you grew up celebrating.
Having grown up in India, there are so many major holidays, and without consciously celebrating them, I got to see some sort of festivity around me for all those holidays. Now, living in America, I only get to celebrate the major holidays, such as Diwali, Indian Independence Day and Holi, but most of the others get buried, sometimes even forgotten. I am sure many of you, living here from different parts of the world, can relate.
This past Friday, to celebrate Indian Republic Day, I went down to the Indian Consulate in New York City. After years I took time to be a part of the Indian flag hoisting ceremony, singing the national anthem and celebrating the day when the Indian constitution was first adopted.
For many reasons I get a little excited every time I am near Columbus Circle in New York. First, it’s always exciting to see the flag of India flying next to the American flag on the iconic Plaza (hotel). Since it is now owned by India’s Sahara group, I am always sure to see an Indian flag happily sitting next to the stars and strips. Another part of India, for me, is The Pierre, run by the Taj group of hotels. There are no signs really that connect it to India, except in my mind. I fondly recall my time enjoying India’s luxury hotel chain. Finally on 64th and 5th, right near central park is the Indian Consulate, where the Indian flag always stands!
On Friday, I got to go and be part of Indian’s Republic Day celebration, here in New York.
Republic Day marks the day when India adopted it’s constitution. Growing up, there was always a flag hoisting somewhere around, Indian flags were distributed which we pinned on to our clothes and we sang the national anthem. It had been years since I was part of this ‘celebration,’ and there I was, in the Consulate, waiting to do what I had almost forgotten.
At the consulate, several Indians gathered to be part of the flag hoisting ceremony, despite the cold cold January morning. Also among the attendees were friends of the consul from different countries such as Nigeria. Followed by the flag hoisting, everyone sang the national anthem and heard Mr. Sandeep Chakravorty read the Indian president’s address. There were other speeches and songs before everyone devoured a south Indian breakfast.
Everything reminded me about Republic Day celebrations I had been a part of, in India.
Well everything except a puffy down jacket, hanging over my shoulder!
- If you miss being a part of the community you grew up in, check out the your countries consulate website. There are always some activities you can be a part of.
- Make an effort to celebrate some of the holidays from the country of your birth.
And of course take delight in the holidays in The United States as well.
- If you really want to immerse yourself in other cultures in this country, look around they are always happening somewhere.