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Youngsters from various Salesian houses of Chennai region gathered in large numbers to remind themselves of the richness of their culture and to celebrate it with joy and optimism. The Province Youth Council had planned this event long back with Fr. Mani Lazar SDB, the Province Youth Director and executed it with precision at DBYC – Rinaldi grounds. There were more than 450 youngsters with 24 Salesians who participated in this fest. Fr. John Bosco SDB. the Youth Pastoral Delegate inaugurated the Fest and spoke of the need and reasons to celebrate it with fervour. To crown this celebration, Fr. Cedric Bout SDB, the centenarian priest from Citadel, came over and graced this event. There were 19 youth groups who participated in the Fest and among them were two non-Salesian Youth groups.
The Fest highlighted three major nuances of Tamizh Culture: namely, traditional sports, food and folk arts of the soil. Folk artists from Thanjavur, Kanchipuram and Thiruvallur exhibited the rich folk arts of our soil. The youngsters expressed their bravery by participating in the traditional games throughout the day. The entire venue was decorated in a traditional manner by the youngsters of Rinaldi Oratory thanks to all the members and its Director Fr. Kasi Sagayaraj SDB and to the Rector Fr. John Christy SDB.
“Learning about their own culture makes people understand each other better. And if they understand each other better, it will be easier to overcome the economic and political barriers. Though the festival is a harvest and thanksgiving one, we spent qualitative time to reflect on the plight of the fisherfolk of Kumari and Kerala during the recent Ockhi Cyclone. We took a resolution that we will protect our farmers and fisherfolk who feed us every day, with great sacrifice. The day ended very meaningfully and the youngsters went back home with a greater sense of responsibility to safeguard their culture and their people by knowing its rich cultural nuances. At the same time we reminded ourselves, that we live in a multicultural society and we will not reject the culture of the other, but we will prepare to listen, to see, to carry on a dialogue and, in the final analysis, to possibly accept the other's culture without compromising our own culture. We have taken this as the watchword for all of us: “Be rooted in your culture and be open to the culture of the others too.” says Fr. Mani Lazar.