Toledo gets taste of India, Pakistan at Basant partyWritten by Matt Liasse | | firstname.lastname@example.org
In India and Pakistan, this time of year is a celebration.
Spring is a time for growing crops to earn a living, Global Education Foundation Founder Dr. Munir Ahmad said. At Basant parties, people celebrate the season and say goodbye to winter.
Ahmad will bring the same celebration to Toledo.
Basant parties include traditional Indian music and dancing. Public Relations Coordinator Jessica Weinberg sees the festival as a time of “universal festivity.”
“[The event] brings together different cultures,” Weinberg said.
Although they are normally celebrated earlier in the year overseas, the Global Education Foundation, as well as the South Asia Peace Foundation and the Toledo Hyderabad Sister City Committee, attempted to stay true to tradition, Weinberg said.
“All of the activities we have planned [are] meant to be authentic,” Weinberg said.
The festival will also sponsor kite-flying in the parking lot if the weather permits, a traditional activity at Basant parties, Ahmad said.
Last year was the first year Global Education Campaign put together a Basant Party, according to the event’s press release. With last year’s success, the organization decided to make it an annual event.
Ahmad founded the Global Education Campaign in 1994, then known as the Dosti Welfare Organization. The foundation works to “provide education in economically depressed areas of the world, with an emphasis on Pakistan,” according to the news release.
“We aspire to raise money … to join hands to develop schools in other parts of the world,” Ahmad said. “There is an imbalance in the world [in education.]”
Munir said it is important to be more aware of Middle Eastern culture, especially now after everything happening in the news like the death of Osama bin Laden. He wants to educate and learn about other cultures, he said.
“We are sometimes distant,” Munir said. “The people that need help greatly deserve it.”
The Basant Party is Saturday May 21 at Erie Street Market. Kite-flying will begin at 4 p.m. and music and dancing will start at 6 p.m.
Munir said there will be plenty of decorations as well.
“It’s like Mardi Gras,” Munir said, one of the only differences being the Basant Party has no religious affiliation.
Vendor tables are still available for anyone interested. There are already some lined up, including glass artists and sales of kites, dolls and Pakistani clothes.
The Global Education Campaign asks for 10 percent of the revenue or $50, whichever is less. Those who are interested can contact Weinberg at (419) 535-3214. Tickets for the event are $15 with children younger than 10 costing $5.