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August 15th marks an important day for many of our new neighbours and friends. 76 years ago on this day, British rule ended in India and the country became a free democratic nation. This day is celebrated across India with flag-hoisting ceremonies and the singing of the national anthem. The Prime Minister of the country addresses the nation at one of the historical monuments, Red Fort, in the nation’s capital New Delhi. Red Fort is decorated for this occasion and guests are showered with flower petals by a helicopter flying over the Red Fort. The unfurling of the National Flag is accompanied by the playing of the National Anthem and the firing of a 21-gun salute. The event continues with a parade showcasing art forms of different states, traditions, and cultures, scenes of the freedom fights and struggles illustrated through pictures. The purpose of this parade is to showcase the diversity and cultural amalgamation of the country and to depict the feeling of brotherhood among the different states of one nation.

This year marks the 76th Independence Day for India and we believe this makes a great community event for sharing culture, dance, music, food, and art. Cape Breton Influencers and Dazzling Entertainment are hosting an open event for all to be part of this celebration on August 15th evening at Wentworth Park, Sydney. The team and volunteers are busy with preparations and are excited to celebrate India’s Independence with their new friends and family under one big blue sky.

The day will start with flag hoisting at 9:30 am at the City Hall with the Indian national anthem and Indian sweets for everyone. The cultural event will start at 6 pm with a Mi’kmaw welcome by Cultural Ambassador David Meuse from Membertou. This will be followed by storytelling by one of the local residents, who moved to Sydney many decades ago and was a part of the partition of 2 countries, India and Pakistan in 1947. There will be various cultural events including dances, singing, music, band performance, and a play that showcases the life of a young Indian army man and his family. Wentworth Park will be decorated in the colors of the Indian Flag and there will be vendors selling traditional Indian, arts and crafts, face painting, and henna tattoo artists. Food vendors such as Ethical India, Anagha’s Kitchen, and NSA Variety store will be selling Indian street food and drinks. Priyanka from Culture Mania and Cheryl Cintamani MacDonald will be sharing her collage art and cards.

Cape Breton Influencers was founded by me and my friend Monika Sharma to create a sense of belonging among newcomers by providing a platform to connect, socialize and make new friends through community and social events. We have hosted over 15 events in collaboration with local organizations and partners. Our events have been well attended with over 1,800 guests and many have met their new friends through such events. We strongly believe that such events give a platform to all to learn about different cultures, making valuable connections and long-lasting friendships. This event celebration is one of the biggest events for us and we are thankful to our dedicated volunteers who have been supporting us to make this event a reality. Every volunteer has been working hard to provide the best experience for all the guests. Mehak Jain, one of the team members is busy with choreographing and teaching Indian Patriotic Dance to a few other volunteer dancers for a group dance! Another volunteer Subukta Sandhu and Tushar Chawla are busy with getting a play ready that will share a life of an Indian army man and his family. Dinson Devassy from Dazzling Entertainment is getting his band ready for their big performance on August 15th.

One of our team members, Prabh Kaur, has been busy coordinating volunteer duties to ensure the event runs smoothly. While volunteers are preparing for this event, they are also enjoying the process as they meet new people, make new friends, and remember the time when we celebrated this day in India with our family and friends. Many of these volunteers have been only here for 3 months and have made friends through such activities. In the background, I and Simran Virdi, who has recently joined our Cape Breton Influencers team have been working tirelessly with event vendors, our generous sponsors, and partners and coordinating with CBRM, and the food authority to get all needed permissions for this event.

Cape Breton Influencers envisions to be the platform for bringing cultural awareness as more newcomers make Cape Breton their home. Cape Breton has always been the melting pot of cultures and the warm welcoming Cape Bretoners, remind many of us of our home. We hope that our events become more diverse and more inclusive and with the support of sponsors and the community, we grow our cultural events.

Cape Breton Influencers and Dazzling Entertainment would like to extend an invitation to all to be part of this celebration on August 15th, from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM at Wentworth Park, and enjoy an evening of Indian culture, dance, music, food, and art. Follow us on Facebook to keep updated about the event and our future events.

(Please note that the event is open to all with no admission charges. Indian food vendors will be there, and food tickets will be available for purchase via cash or card).

Photos by pavan gupta on Unsplash, Tejj on Unsplash & Ankit Wadhwa

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