Creativity was at its best at this year’s annual Dharmic Sabha motorcade held on Monday evening at the Anna Regina Community Centre ground on the Essequibo Coast, Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam).
Mandir members displayed intricate sculptures depicting the true meaning of the Hindu festival, Diwali. Young girls were dressed like Goddess Lakshmi in huge floats, giving an illustration of the Hindu Goddess.
Outshining 11 other illuminated floats was Golden Fleece Vishwa Jhotir mandir. This mandir managed to retain its first position from last year by wooing the judges with expertly crafted and a modern designed float. The float depicted Goddess Lakshmi and her consort Lord Vishnu. The float also depicted how Goddess Lakshmi came into being (by the churning of the milky ocean). Young girls from the mandir were beautifully dressed in colourful saris for the competition.
The Airy Hall Mandir; with a well-crafted float, neatly decorated with lights, won the second position. Two mandirs, Reliance and Aurora Estate, jointly copped the third prize. Adventure mandir and Anna Regina mandir copped the other prizes.
Consolation prizes were awarded to the Queenstown, Richmond, Affiance, Huist Deen and Spring Garden Vishnu mandirs.
Floats were judged based on dress, discipline, music, originality, punctuality, lights (quantity and arrangements), creativity, relevance, oral depiction, theme and banner. The designs were traditional, which was testimony that members from the various mandirs prepared for the activity long before the actual night. At various floats youths were seen actively involved. They were clad in decorative Indian wear, paying homage to their ancestral history. The Chief Judge was Radha Lall and she was assisted by dance teacher Bhooma Devi Ramnarine and Demerara Bank Manager Devendra Persaud.
Meanwhile, in her address to the large gathering, President of the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha, Dr Vindhya Persaud, called on Essequibians to uphold the Hindu tradition and culture with pride and dignity and not to allow anyone to dim the lights on the festival. She pointed out that this is the 42nd year that the Sabha was hosting Diwali motorcades throughout Guyana, and as such, thanked all the Sabhas throughout the country for preserving the mandate of the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha.
Persaud also commended the efforts of participating mandirs for their creativity and urged them to journey their beautifully designed floats to take part in the float parades which was held on Tuesday night at Uitvlugt, West Coast Demerara and the grand Georgetown float slated for this evening. The Sabha’s President also noted that every year, the Essequibo motorcade has been improving and she is happy that persons are taking the time to place more emphasis on the festival and its meaning. She said the concept of the motorcade was conceptualised by her father, the late Pandit Reepu Daman Persaud.
She also urged her fellow Hindus not to be afraid and to hold hands in an effort to upkeep the Hindu tradition, customs and beliefs.
Dr Persaud thanked the Essequibo population for always supporting the Dharmic Sabha’s activities throughout the year and urged residents to stand up for what they believe and to never surrender to difficulties.
Shubh Diwali greetings were also extended by the Vice President of the Sabha, Pandit Jagmohan Persaud. He used the opportunity to urge Hindus to celebrate the festival on Thursday since it’s the appropriate date. Region Two Chairman Devanand Ramdatt also graced the occasion and used the opportunity to extend Deepvali greetings to his fellow Essequibians. Ramdatt said Diwali is a time for togetherness, and as such, called on all Hindus to celebrate the festival with love, peace and unity.
The cultural programme featured items such as dances, live tassa drumming and songs. Dances were performed by popular dance troupes Dharmic Swarswattie Dance Academy and the Khandhiya.
Persons who did not make it to the Anna Regina Community Centre ground cheered the floats on as they made their way through the various villages on the Essequibo Coast.