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Rangoli, kites lift spirits at NZTA's Sankranthi celebration

Children try their hand at making a rangoli.

In a whirlwind of colours, kites, and a touch of tradition, the New Zealand Telugu Association (NZTA) rocked the Auckland cultural scene with their Sankranthi Sambaralu event. 

The January 13 celebration at Mount Roskill War Memorial Hall was a carnival of culture that brought the Telugu community together in a burst of excitement.

One of the star attractions was the Rangoli competition. Talking about the same, Suneel Kuncha, President of NZTA, said, “ It was a kaleidoscope of creativity that left us all in awe. Facing a heatwave, we decided to shift the celebration from 4pm to 5:30pm.”

While ‘Bhogi Pallu’, a ceremony in which fruits and money are showered over young children's heads to protect them from evil spirits, blessed the little ones, kites soared high in the Auckland sky.

According to the organisers, the venue was bursting at the seams, with double the usual crowd, proving once again that when it comes to Sankranti, the more the merrier!

"I was very touched and overwhelmed by the response from the attendees. The energy was contagious, and the vibe was awesome,” Kuncha told The Indian Weekender.  

“The success of this event is a testament to the strength of our community and the collaborative spirit that defines NZTA. We look forward to many more celebrations and events together.

One young gentleman, in particular, who had attended the event for the first time touched my feet and admitted this was the best community event he had participated in so far."

One woman, having spent nearly 13 years outside India, declared the Sankranti bash was the best she had ever witnessed. Surprisingly, many attendees were fresh faces, new immigrants soaking in the joy and colours of their first NZTA Sankranthi.

"We noticed that almost 40 per cent of the members who attended were new immigrants. Most of them were very highly appreciative of the celebrations.

These events are significant to keep alive our Indian culture and traditions and to pass on to the next generations born in this country," Kuncha pointed out.

The Sankranti celebrations didn't just stay local; they went global! The rangolis and the revellers splashed from Italy to Myanmar thanks to a live feed on Facebook.

"The best part of all is that our Facebook live page showing the rangolis and the attendees was shared by 60 members and liked by more than 200 people right from Italy to Myanmar, which we didn't see before,” gushed Kuncha.

As the attendees dispersed, the sentiments echoed by Sneha summed up the evening perfectly, "This wasn't just an event; it was a cultural explosion, and I can't wait to do it all over again. The moment I walked in, I felt the energy – it was contagious. Laughter, colors surrounded me, and the aroma of delicious  authentic Telugu food."

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