Updated: September 14, 2021 10:09:00 am
Sarees of various hues and traditional Indian dance regaled the French as different not-for-profit associations got together to celebrate the Biennale des associations de Villeurbanne festival in Villeur-banne city of Lyon, France, Sunday. The event brought together 295 associations represented by over 600 volunteers. One of the associations that participated this year was a body formed by Indian ex-pats in Lyon called Association de L’Inde Lyonnaise.
Haru Mehra, General Secretary of the association, who came to France from New Delhi four years back, told The Indian Express: “In the last two years, the Indian community has gone through a very difficult time and was unable to conduct regular community events such as Diwali, Holi and Ganesh Chaturthi, which were regular features of the pre-Covid era.” In January, Mehra was invited by the Mayor of Villeurbanne to discuss the re-launch of cultural activities. “We decided to participate in this event with a theme on Saree and Dance, to spread the taste of India in the region,” Mehra said. Rama Kumble, President of the association, said, “We decided to give the responsibility of conducting the show to Indian women in Lyon, who came up with Sarees of India, a parade of sarees from different states.”
The event was held in the compound of the Mayor of Villeurbanne. Besides the parade, another initiative that caught the attention of the local French people was a saree-wearing stand where they could seek help in draping the traditional Indian attire and take pictures in them. “This stand became a hit with all French women, young and old,” Mehra said.
However, the highlight of the event was the Indian group dance, by an all-women team, which had been preparing for the event for the last two months.
“This is the first time we (Indians) are participating in the Biennale des association event but let me guarantee you this is not the last one,” Mehra said.
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