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Makar Sankranti Utsav in Framingham, MA

Framingham, MA, January 08, 2005–-Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS), a non-profit cultural organization, focused on propagation of Hindu dharma in the USA, celebrated its 3rd annual ‘Samkranti Bala Mela’ (children’s festival) on Saturday, January 08, 2005 at the Joseph P. Keefe Technical School in Framingham, MA on the occasion of Makar Samkranti.

Despite of the snow storm, 290 people enjoyed the three-hour gala event. All were welcomed at the entrance with ‘Til-Gul,’ a festive sweet made with sesame and jaggery, to represent the strong bonds amongst the individuals of the society.

Amidst the frigid New England winter, the attendees of Samkranti Bala Mela enjoyed a warm afternoon of children’s competitions. Children aged 4 to 15 competed in categories such as singing, playing instruments, and reciting shlokas. Many children played ring toss and other games at the game stalls, while some children took pleasure in activities such as face painting. Children and adults alike enjoyed a variety of homemade Indian snacks and desserts, such as samosas, vada pau, bhel, chaat, idli, lemon rice, tamarind rice, ghari, gulab jamun, ras guula. All the money raised will go to Tsunami aid in India.

HSS also announced on the same day the individuals primarily responsible for various internal functions of the organization. They are as follows: Seva (Vinod Bhat), Sampark (Darshan Thakkar), Vyavastha Tarun Dave), Sharirik (Prashant Bhat), Sah Karyavaha (Dhananjay Javlekar), Karyalaya (Ashwani Garg), Guruji Janmashatabdi (Sampath Kumar).

Several social, cultural, and religious organizations from across the New England supported this event by presenting cultural items, minding stalls, serving food, spreading good will, and attending the event.

HSS organizes this free event on the occasion of Makar Samkranti festival (celebrated in India on January 14th). The time when the Sun changes direction from one constellation of the Zodiac to another is known as Samkranti. Transition of the Sun from Sagittarius to Capricorn during the winter solstice (a time when the sun is over the tropic of Capricorn) in the northern hemisphere (Uttarayana) is known as Makar Samkranti.

Indians all over the world celebrate this day of Sun’s northward journey as an auspicious day to mark the continued forward movement of human kind. This festival signifies the transition towards a better, balanced and harmonious society and nurtures the bond of love and affection between families, neighbors, and the world.

HSS runs “Balagokulams” or Children Centers throughout the USA to impart Hindu cultural values to children. For more information on HSS, visit http://www.hssworld.org. To learn more about Balagokulams please visit www.balagokulam.org.

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