NPIC celebrates Eid-ul-Fitr in New Zealand
New Plymouth: Away from home and loved ones, members of the small Indian community of various faiths across the New Plymouth district of New Zealand gathered at St Andrew’s church hall on Saturday, July 9 to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr, “the festival of fast-breaking”, which was organised by New Plymouth Indian Community (NPIC).
The people, who gathered for the first programme after the installation of the new office-bearers, were extremely happy to be inspired by the day’s events.
The newly elected office bearers, with Narayanan as the president, welcomed the gathering and spoke about the association which was set up with the intention to provide a platform to the Indian community around the district.
The association also organizes events and get-together on festive and other occasions, and promotes cultural understanding and relations between Indians and other nationalities in the region. Narayanan further assured that he and his team intend to organize monthly programmes based on the festivals and events of the Indian calendar, and requested the co-operation and support of the community.
Eid was celebrated with great enthusiasm in the evening and Yusuf Khan, a member of the association, explained the significance of Eid-ul-Fitr, which literally means ‘festival of breaking the fast’ to celebrate the conclusion of Ramzan, the month of fasting. He also stated that fasting does not merely mean restraining oneself from having food but also to abstain from all kinds of evil and unlawful practices in Islam.
Many Muslims believe that fasting instills a sense of responsibility within oneself and that when the month-long fasting ends with the festival of Eid-ul-Fitr, it symbolizes a reward for their fasting. Khan concluded saying that the celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr not only has religious essence but also carries a social connotation.
The second part of the programme was a festive dinner and ‘Kheer’ competition. Since the association has members from different states, the judges enjoyed the taste of Kheer of the different states of India, prepared from various healthy ingredients. The programme was followed by indoor games and quiz.
Anu Kutty and Valentine Fernandes conducted games for the kids and adults. Valentine Fernandes was the only contestant of Indian origin for Miss World New Zealand 2016, who won 3 awards Miss Exotic Beauty / Runner-up in Beauty with a Purpose / Best Dancer of Origin 2016 at Miss World New Zealand finals last month. Wilfred D’Souza conducted the quiz in which many actively participated.
The winner of the Kheer competition was Geetha Kutty, a distinguished social worker who has been recognised by the New Plymouth District Council for her voluntary efforts to help migrants settle in New Zealand. Geetha Kutty was also recently conferred the prestigious Citizens Award for her commitment and dedication to New Plymouth community and was felicitated on this occasion. It is learnt that she was one among the twelve of New Plymouth’s most worthy citizens to have been honoured by the New Plymouth District Council for the work they are doing for the community.
The programme concluded with distribution of prizes for the games conducted. Secretary of NPIC Natalie Fernandes compered the programme. Bevinda Dias delivered the vote of thanks.
The celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr no-doubt perks up the spirit inherent in all the festivity. The significance of this festival is also interpreted as a good time to bring people together in harmony and gratitude, which was seen among the Indians gathered.
By Natalie Fernandes, Pics by Wilfred D’Souza,