Indians are big on festivals and dance, music, color and food. Every festival is just another reason for people to come together, celebrate and enjoy each others presence. It is this feeling of belonging to a community and togetherness is what makes you feel wanted and close in a foreign land. I moved to the Netherlands in April 2017 and thanks to my husband I atleast don’t miss speaking my language and yes I talk once or twice a week to my parents and family back home to remember my roots. But imagine a festival of 4 days in a foreign land where you meet people from your country, and to be specific your region, eat your food, dance to the tunes you have grown listening to. Isn’t that the perfect way of celebrating togetherness?
Holland-e-Hoi Choi or popularly known as Hoi Choi NL is one such organization in the Netherlands trying to bring that feeling of community among the Indian expats from the East and rest of India to celebrate festivals together. I was fortunate enough to be a part of one of their biggest celebrations and one of the biggest festivals of the Bengalis called Durga Pujo.
Mythology or what is Durga Pujo
Durga Pujo is a 5 days of grandiose in Bengal where Goddess Durga (also called as Maa Durga which stands of Mother Durga) along with her God kids (Ganesh, Kartik, Laxmi and Saraswati) visits her home town i.e. Bengal. According to the mythology, she is the wife Lord Shiva (also known as the God of Destruction – okay another lesson later to explain that) and they live in the Himalayas with their children and every year for 5 days comes to visit her parents. The celebration marks the visit of Goddess Durga and her power of victory over evil on the 3rd day (Maha Ashthami) where she fights with the devil who was out to finish the world. With the help of other Gods and Goddesses in the heaven she is gifted extra weapons and thus she gets 10 arms to hold those weapons. This figuratively stands for woman power and how inner strength is enough to win over anything wrong and unjust in the world.
Hoi Choi NL
Hoi Choi NL invited me to be a part of this event and yes I could never say NO to it. I even went ahead and invited few of my Food Blogger friends. I attended the festivals on 2 days and I so hope I could attend it on all days next year again. It was organized in a huge community centre in Amstelveen and it had a footfall of more than 3000 people (85% being Indians ofcourse) in 4 days of October 2018. That’s almost a mini-India out of India. I must say I felt included or a part of something, some place for those few hours when I attended. And that feeling is special, isn’t it?
Food and Food Coma
Food is a big part of any Indian festivals and for Bengalis food holds the most significance during any celebration. There were numerous food stalls within the premises, selling street food like samosas, chaat, chai, kachoris. But I think the highlight of the event was the main food served by Indilli Foods. Every morsel of food took me back to my childhood. It was cooked not just beautifully but tasted authentic. Mousumi Guha, the owner of Indilli Foods cooked the food along with her team day in and out and ensured that there was more than enough food for everyone who attended the event. From Ilish Maach to Mochhar ghonto to Cholar Daal, Chanar Payesh, there was nothing that I could point out saying that it didn’t hit the right spots. It did each and every time. Thank You Indilli Foods!
I would want you all to see and experience some of the food coma moments as well.
Thank You Hoi Choi for bringing home outside home. Till next year 🙂
To know more about events conducted by Hoi Choi, you can visit their links below.
Website – https://www.hoichoi.nl/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/HollandHoichoi/
And finally thank you Pixel Fair for all the amazing photos and allowing me to use some of them for my blog.