Indian Festivals in Taiwan

by Nov 10, 2022Diaspora0 comments

Deepavali (Diwali), also known as “The Festival of Lights ” and arguably India’s biggest festival, being celebrated in English-speaking countries like the US, Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand is quite common these days. Even, US President’s White House gets decorated with special lights on the day of Deepavali.

But this festival, now being celebrated in nations like Taiwan, speaks volumes of not only its growing popularity but also the rising ties between Taipei and New Delhi in recent years.

So much so that this year Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry decided to host Diwali Celebrations . Foreign Minister Joseph Wu and Legislator Madam YC Wu, President of the Taiwan-India Friendly Association of Taiwan Parliament were present at the celebrations.

Besides, Indian expatriates,Taiwanese locals, and guests of all nationalities came together at American Club Taipei for a Diwali celebration hosted by the Indians in Taiwan (IiT) group.

The celebrations to mark Deepavali saw Indian and Taiwanese officials light a large lamp, while others made offerings to Lord Ganesh before traditional Indian dancers took to the stage.

IiT founder Priya Lalwani Purswaney said in an opening speech that Diwali is one of India’s most important festivals and has been celebrated in Taiwan officially for the third year in a row.

“And we are very grateful to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for giving us the opportunity to do that,” Purswaney said.

Also in attendance was Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), who said the event demonstrated the robust friendship and close cultural exchanges between Taiwan and India.

“As many of you know, I feel a very special kinship with India, which is why I’m always keen to promote our relations whenever the opportunity arises,” Wu said.

Over the past decade, Taiwan and India have naturally developed a strong partnership based on shared trust and values, which has led to cooperation in areas such as trade, critical supply chains, and education, according to Wu.

“And this is what I’ll say that will get many other countries very jealous … I love India,” Wu said.

Indian national Sana Hashmi, a postdoctoral fellow at the think tank Taiwan-Asia Exchange Foundation, felt that relations between Taiwan and India had improved significantly in the last three years. “It’s common challenges for sure and the realization that they have shared interests,” she said. “And it’s important for both India and Taiwan to look towards each other to cooperate and find ways to enhance cooperation.”

Taipei-based Indian artist Vandana Mengane, who also attended the festive event, told the media that it gave her the feeling of celebrating the festival in India. “For me Diwali is always with family and friends, no matter where we stay in which corner of the world. At home we do all the rituals, which we do usually in India, and when we come out, we have such events and that gives us the same feeling we have if we were back in India,” Mengane said.

This was the third time IiT and the Taipei-India Music and Culture Center organized Diwali celebrations in collaboration with Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry.

The inaugural event was held at Taipei Guest House in 2020.

It may be noted that India Taiwan Relations have gathered unprecedented momentum in recent years. Taipei has also tried to reach out to New Delhi. In 2020, India and Taiwan commemorated the Silver Jubilee (25th diplomatic anniversary) of the establishment of the India-Taipei Association(ITA) and Taipei Economic and Cultural Center (TECC).

There is scope for convergence between the Indian government’s Act East policy, which advocates closer economic, strategic, and diplomatic engagement with countries in the Indo-Pacific, and Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy, which seeks to enhance cooperation and exchange between Taiwan and 18 countries in Southeast Asia, South Asia, and Australasia (Australia, New Zealand and some neighboring islands in the Pacific Ocean). Both policies aim to increase regional influence and gain political and economic benefits from their partners in the region.

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