Saturday, April 20, 2002

Faith Matters

School honors Indian culture

        At Lakota East High School tonight, children and parents will succeed where statesmen have failed.

        Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs will dance, sing songs, share meals, stories and laughter. Together they will celebrate Vaisakhi, the traditional new year in most of India.

        “The unspoken wish of everybody is to have less to divide us,” says Dr. Jasleen Goel.

        The second annual celebration is sponsored by the Punjabi Cultural Society of Greater Cincinnati.

        Punjab is a northern state in India, a rural area where agriculture is the mainstay. Vaisakhi signals the beginning of harvest for spring crops, primarily wheat.

        For Sikhs, the holiday also has religious significance. It is the anniversary of the birth of Khalsa or brotherhood of the pure, followers of the faith.

        In Punjab, Vaisakhi is one of the biggest celebrations of the year, with festivals held in nearly every town.

        The local Punjabi group started in September 2000. Last year, they held the first Vaisakhi celebration, and 500 people attended.

        The goal of the event is to teach the children their Indian heritage — even though they're 7,000 miles away from home.

        “We want to provide a forum for everybody to have fun, learn about their culture and express their talent,” says Dr. Goel, a physician who lives in Sycamore Township. “We want the children to feel good about themselves and where they're from.”

        The event is open to people of all faiths and nationalities, which fulfills another vision of the group.

        “The world is becoming a new place. Instead of dividing ourselves further, we need to find more in common with each other,” says Dr. Goel. “The more we understand each other, the better we can live with each other.”


Hindu council to meet

        Gaurov Mantro will split his evening between the Vaisakhi celebration and a meeting in Indian Hill of the Cincinnati chapter of the World Hindu Council.

        The group focuses on teaching children about Indian culture and the Hindi language as well as supports education and nutrition efforts in rural areas of India.

        For information on the World Hindu Council, contact Mr. Mantro at 513-774-7594.

Casual conversations

        Another round of “Theology on Tap” has begun. The program is designed for young adult Catholics who want to learn more about their faith in a casual setting.

        The theme is “Ordinary People with Extraordinary Faith.”

        The group meets every Thursday night through June 6 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Jefferson Hall Saloon, 1150 Main St., downtown.

Senior discussions

        The Healing Place Church of God invites senior adults to a gathering todayfrom 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

        The program at 522 Fifth Ave., Dayton, Ky., includes lunch, games and a presentation by Hospice of Northern Kentucky. Seniors also will receive a free bag of groceries. Information: 859-655-9100.

        For more religion listings, check out, keyword: events. E-mail or call 755-4144.


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