HINDU New Year was celebrated in a unique way by blending the spirit of sports with the spirit of Festival at the first Indian Traditional Games Festival (ITGF) organised by Vivekanand Seva Sangh (VSS) Singapore.
The event began at the Global Indian International School’s East Coast campus with the auspicious tone set by the melodious shehnai, prayers were offered to the divine source of energy, the Sun God. This was followed by a more physical way of praying to Surya through Surya Namaskar and other yoga demonstrations. The festival was inaugurated by Professor AN Rao, founder member of Hindu centre in Singapore. All the attendees then recited Ekatmata Mantra and recommitted themselves to the principles of unity and harmony.
Various Indian traditional games were played at the venue. The games included gamut of games from the ever-exciting kabaddi to the most mischievous marbles, from the fun-filled gilli-danda (bail and stick) to disciplined team game kho-kho and many more. Langadi (one-leg hopping), lattoo (top), skipping, pitthoo (also called lagori) were some other very popular games of the day. There were competitions for the team games like kabaddi and kho-kho and the agility, energy and vitality of these games captured the heart of all. It was heartening to see parents playing their childhood games along with the younger generation and demonstrating their skills proudly. A small booklet giving detailed information on these traditional games was given to all those who attended this festival. This booklet was yet another symbol of the sincere efforts and commitment of VSS to the cause of promoting this part of Indian tradition!! Over 500 members of Singapore’s Indian community zealously participated in this festival.
While the games were played simultaneously at different areas marked separately for each sport, there was a dedicated section for all enthusiasts to try their hands at the art of rangoli under the guidence of the more experienced ones. The colours of culture were exhibited vividly in the form of a beautiful huge rangoli carpet that was completed in a short span of time at the venue.
Some of the other dignitaries who graced the occasion were Swami Samachittanand of Ramakrishna Mission, Manish Tripathi – CEO Mediaring, Shri Ashok Goyal – CEO Spice Group, Singapore, Shri Shashi Kashyap – Vice-President of SIFAS, Shri Rajesh Rai – Arya Samaj and Smt Vijaya Mohan.
Students of the Temple of Fine Arts Singapore presented group songs at the grand finale ceremony. Shri Gurunathan, President of Hindu Center addressed the gathering and emphasised the need for all the Indians in Sinagpore to come together at such events and support such activities. Shri Hari Ram Dayani, President of VSS spoke on behalf of VSS, its objectives and its three principles of Seva, Sanskar and Samanway. After the much awaited prize distribution, there was one last enthralling event for all – the tug of war. Everyone present thoroughly enjoyed this powerful and forceful conclusion of the festival.
Upbeat with the support received to this event, VSS has plans to continue the games festival every year. So for those who missed the opportunity this year, ITGF will be back again next year!! And for those who attended ITGF-2010, the revisit to childhood memories and sharing the fun and frolic with many others have become a truly joyful and delightful experience.