Embracing the theme, ‘Mission of Life,’ symbolizing the values and aspirations that guide our path as a nation and as individuals, the 41st annual India Day Parade organized by the Federation of Indian Associations (FIA) of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and New England was led by the renowned spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on August 20th, 2023 in Manhattan. Popular Bollywood stars Jacqueline Fernandez was the Guest of Honor and Samantha Ruth Prabhu was the Chief Marshal at the parade which is considered India Day Parade in the world.
The heart of New York City was transformed into a tapestry of colors as the 41st India Day Parade marched through Madison Avenue. It was a jubilant celebration of Indian culture and heritage. The Parade, which commenced from the corner of Madison & East 38th was led by the Consul General of India Randhir Jaiswal, New York City Mayor Eric Adams, as well as several other celebrities and leaders of the community. Jacqueline Fernandez was seen waving the tricolor flag along her way along with the other celebrities. On the parade route, members of the Indian diaspora tried to capture her moments.
Consul General Jaiswal said the Parade was an occasion to celebrate America and India together and their shared spirit of democracy. Samantha Ruth Prabhu said the Parade made her realize how rich her culture and heritage is, and that the memories of the Parade would last her a lifetime.
Mayor Adams extolled the invaluable contributions of Indian Americans to the fabric of the United States, lauding their dedication to nation-building, and recognizing their pivotal role in shaping the nation.
The parade comprised of lively dance and musical performances and theatrical acts “reflecting the essence of India’s rich cultural heritage, businesses and community organizations of the Indian American diaspora, as well as representing different states of India.
It also showcased a diverse array of authentic cuisines and traditional delicacies from different parts of India as well as handicrafts, textiles, and art. Representational floats of Indian states including Jammu and Kashmir, and Manipur, went down Madison Avenue, as did the Siddhivinayak Temple of USA, and the Indian American Muslims of North America.
Dancers from the Rudra Dance Academy and Hollywood, Bollywood stars like Aric Diamani and Doug Wilson, and groups of other dancers, and marching bands, people dressed in vibrant traditional apparel, cultural performances, booth fairs were part of the Parade.
Among the highlights of this year’s parade was a special pavilion on Millets, dedicated to promoting the super grains for a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. “This is a grand celebration of India’s rich culture, diversity, and the wholesome goodness of millets,” FIA said.
As part of the Independence Day celebrations, FIA also hosted a ‘Gala on the Hudson’, a special cruise that featured singers, celebrities and cultural performances to mark the occasion. Since its inception in 1970, this annual event has grown into an iconic extravaganza, and this year’s parade proved to be a resounding success, drawing an estimated crowd of more than 100,000 people, according to numbers provided by FIA.
With many holding the Indian tricolor and dressed in celebratory attire, and performers dancing and playing drums, the parade served as a vibrant convergence of cultures, patriotism, and shared values that unite India and America.