Revelers enjoy Holi, the Festival of Colors. (Photo provided)

The Evanston Association of India is a nonpolitical community organization devoted to the awareness and preservation of the rich Indian culture by offering public activities in Evanston. Bindu Reddy, who used to run The Berry Pike Café in Evanston, has hosted many activities in the past, but now, with more time, she is realizing her dream to create a community-wide organization focused on the breadth of Indian culture.

With more than 1,500 Indian residents in Evanston, in addition to the strong Indian community at Northwestern ­University, she hopes to provide not only a touch of home for those immigrants, but also traditional activities from India that all Evanstonians can enjoy.

Colors to celebrate Holi. (Photo provided)

Currently, people who want to experience Indian festivals must travel to Naperville, Schaumberg or Buffalo Grove. Reddy believes that offering festivals here will attract not only Evanston, but also Skokie, Wilmette and Winnetka residents. As an Evanston resident herself, she wants to do what she can to help with community and economic development. 

Reddy has planned the following activities for 2022.

Holi, or the Festival of Colors, celebrates the coming of spring on March 19.

In April, the group will present the New Year Festival, which is called Ugadi or Gudi Padwa depending on the Indian state, and Art for Earth. The latter will feature workshops on creating rangoli, an ancient Hindu art form whose name comes from the Sanskrit word “rangavalli,” meaning rows of colors, and is drawn in the homes, courtyards and even on walls to celebrate auspicious occasions. Everyone will be welcome to create and present their rangoli.

An example of rangoli, named after the Sanskrit word for rows of colors. (Photo provided)

Dandiya Night will feature music and Indian folk dancing in Fountain Square in October.

Dwali Celebration will be held in October and activities will be provided.  

Everyone is invited to the Holi Festival from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on March 19 at Raymond Park. The traditional celebration features wearing white clothing and splashing colored powders on the face and hands – and yes, it often lands on the clothes too! Participants may bring their own colored powders or buy Holi colors in downtown Evanston.

“This event will draw more community to our downtown,” said Laura Brown from Downtown Evanston. We are excited to welcome this new audience, as our mission is to provide a welcoming, loving downtown community.”

Other activities being planned include Indian language lessons, which will take place at the Evanston Public library, a collaboration with the Northwestern Indian Student Organization and additional art projects. To connect with this new organization, visit the Facebook page Evanston Association of India, or Instagram.

Jean Cunningham

Jean Cunningham retired from the business world and is now enjoying the next phase, including writing about local artists to increase awareness of Evanston’s amazing art community.

2 replies on “New Evanston association to sponsor Indian festivals downtown”

  1. This is wonderful and so needed! I’m so excited to bring my children to these festivals to enjoy how beautiful and fun they are and to learn more about Indian culture and heritage. Fantastic!

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