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Appreciating Easter and India

Updated: Apr 13, 2023

By Jill Parker, AMIS Amigo Director

Easter happens to be my favorite holiday. The colors, the symbols of new life, Spring, forgiveness and starting anew, along with the flowers and fun ways to spend time together, make it a meaningful and joyous day for my family. Last Easter (2022) was our first International Easter and experiencing it through the lens of our international student friends, made it all come anew with fresh awe.

For many international students, it is their first Easter experience. Here in America, it can be both a religious and secular holiday blended together. Last Easter, we had four new students join us, all from India, and two prior friends, one from India and another from Armenia.

Lav, who happened to be my Amigo, was in attendance. Lav is a charming and delightful young man and during one of our outings I asked him what he would like Americans to know about Indians. His reply, “just because a person meets one Indian, does not mean they have met us all, India can be very different from region to region, and I would like Americans to try to learn more about these unique differences.”

I have taken Lav’s comment to heart. As Americans, we recognize this characteristic about our own country, but may forget this is true with other large countries. The percentage of AMIS students who hail from India is around 40 percent, and so they represent the largest single country of origin at AMIS. I reached out to several Indian students to ask them to share a bit about their regions.

From Rushikesh: "I am from Maharashtra, in the central southwest region. It is the powerhouse and home to the financial center of Mumbai, also the largest city by population. Maharashtra has a rich and diverse culture and home to several ethnic and linguistic communities including Marathi, Konkani, Gujarati, Kannada and Urdu speaking people."

"Ganesh Chaturthi is one of the most popular and celebrated festivals of Maharashtra and is a 10-day long festival marking the birth of Lord Ganesha who is considered the God of wisdom, knowledge and prosperity. Ganesh Chaturthi has deep cultural significance and gained popularity during the British era when it was used to unite people against colonialism. Today, it is also a cultural festival to bring people together irrespective of their religion or caste. It attracts people from all over India and the world to witness its grand celebration."

From Sriram: "I hail from a place called Tamil Nadu which translates to the “Land of Tamils.” Tamil is one of the oldest languages in the world spanning more than 2,500 years. We love our food (vegetarian). There is a placed called Kancheepuram here in Tamil Nadu which is famous for its Silk sarees. We celebrate the Pongal festival, which is celebrated across India in different names, but we have a bull-taming sport called Jallikatu which is unique to Tamil Nadu."

From Shivam: "I am from Bihar, a state in East India, birthplace to two religions of the world-Buddhism and Jainism. It is also home to the World’s oldest University called Nalanda University, founded in the 5th century but later destroyed."

As you can see, there is much to learn about India, the food, religions, beautiful geography, languages and history. I am grateful to all the Indian students who teach me about their diverse country.

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