Forced to cancel the annual Divali Nagar celebration of Hindu culture in 2020 because of covid19, the National Council of Indian Culture (NCIC) on Friday said it will host the much anticipated event for 2021.
NCIC public relations officer Surujdeo Mangaroo told Newsday that the show is on and will feature the popular Youth Champ and dance competitions.
He said this year’s celebration is of one of light over the covid19 darkness.
He said it will be a modified version of the previous years but understanding the importance of the celebration and the role it has played in national development, a decision was taken to go ahead with it.
He said people around the globe are waiting to come to the Nagar at Chaguanas to peddle their wares and local vendors are also trying to recoup losses incurred during the pandemic shut down.
“Having regard to the protocols established by the authorities we are hosting a modified version of the event from Tuesday October 26 to November 3.”
Trinidad and Tobago reopened its borders to international travel on July 17.
In a statement, the NCIC said the annual Youth Champ Competition will be held on October 29 with the dance contest finals on October 30.
Mangaroo said the theme for this year’s event, Hindu Panth, will reflect on the various sects of Hinduism.
“Our annual Yagna will continue. Our aim at the NCIC is to continue our excellent cultural shows and present our artistes as we embrace a new era coming out of our pandemic lockdowns.
“Our lives will not be the same, but as a people, we recognise the need to be safe and careful as we get our lives back slowly by continued propagation of our rich culture and heritage.”
He said the NCIC has always recognised the importance of Divali Nagar and the role it has played in building national, regional and international resilience.
“We know that our culture in Trinidad and Tobago is unique and all-embracing.
“This year is a very special year. We will celebrate our struggle against an unseen enemy that has left a large number of our families in sorrow and despair as we have lost loved ones.
“We will celebrate the power of light over the darkness of covid19. We will pray with the rest of the world for a rejuvenated future, one with hope and courage and love, tolerance and good health.”
Mangaroo said while the country and most of the world will still be grappling with covid19 and its variants, “we recognise the need to recover, and restart our vibrant culture, economy and social lives.”
As a result, he said the NCIC will implement strict public health safety protocols for all members, guests, artistes and visitors.
“We shall be maintaining social distancing and will require all persons to wear masks except our performers, and speakers on stage."
He said the expectation of visitors in adhering to their safety protocols will be outlined on their website.
In order to ensure the number of visitors do not exceed the capacity for adequate social distancing on a daily basis, people can book their attendance in advance.
Car park attendants and ushers will assist visitors to access entrance and to enjoy the markets.