August 15 is the 73rd anniversary of India’s liberation from British rule. The metro Detroit area has a relatively large minority population of Indian immigrants who celebrate Indian Independence Day, similar to how we Americans celebrate the Fourth of July. Every year large gatherings of those who have come from India, and their American-born children, celebrate the day that India toppled British rule.
I have enjoyed elaborate celebrations in years past because my husband is of Indian Heritage. We are continually involved in immersing our three girls in their heritage, which includes Indian, Irish, and American.
Celebrations in India are centered around honoring the Flag of India.
The Indian flag is saffron, white, and green with a navy blue Ashokra Chakra in the center. The saffron color is to represent the Hindu population, the white to represent the Christians, and the green to represent the Muslims that live together in India.
Each of the 24 spokes of the Ashokra Chakra has meaning—standing for qualities like chastity, health, peace, and sacrifice that are highly valued in Indian culture and society.
On August 15, 1947, the first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, raised the Indian flag above Red Fort in Delhi. It remains customary for the prime minister to raise the flag over Red Fort each year on Indian Independence Day.
Customary Indian celebrations are looking quite different this year.
Just as the United States has had to cancel large gatherings across the country this year, India has also been deeply affected by the pandemic. Celebrations (which normally include parades, fireworks, and singing of patriotic songs) have been modified and many will be held virtually.
This year, our family will celebrate in traditional Indian Dress and with traditional Indian flavors in our home. In eight years of marriage, I have learned a great deal about India’s traditions and history from both my husband and my close friends who were born there. I have even picked up on the cuisine.
Before meeting my husband in 2011, I had never before tasted a curry. I did not know that I actually immensely enjoy food full of flavors that originated in the Indian Subcontinent. If you are looking to taste a bit of India around metro-Detroit, our favorite place for take-out is Namaste Flavours of Farmington. Their Special Chicken Biryani is a family favorite.
The traditional greeting in India is “Namaste” which simply translates to, “Hello”.
The next time you encounter a native Indian, express good will, greet them with a “namaste” and engage with them. Taking the time to get to know those with different life experiences can be life-changing. I never thought I would marry a man from a race different than my own. Love guided me. Eight years later we are still learning new things from each other every day.