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Celebrating Guru Vandana (Teacher’s appreciation and Facilitation) in Las Vegas by Hindu Swayamsevak Sangha

The First or second week of May rolls around each year in the United States, schools buzz with appreciation for the dedicated educators who shape the minds of tomorrow. It’s a time when students express gratitude through heartfelt notes, thoughtful gestures, and sometimes even special lunches organized by parent-teacher associations. But for the Hindu American community, the celebration extends beyond appreciation to the Worship of the Teacher or ‘Guru’. It’s the celebration of “Guru Vandana” (Teacher Veneration).

What is Guru Vandana?

In Sanskrit, “Guru” signifies a teacher, spiritual guide, or mentor, while “Vandana” translates to salutations or reverence. Guru Vandana is not just a cultural tradition; it’s a deeply ingrained practice that highlights the pivotal role of teachers in shaping individuals and society. For families of Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS), a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and advancing the values of Hindu Dharma, Guru Vandana is an occasion to express love, gratitude, and respect towards teachers.

Celebrating Guru Vandana in Las Vegas:

On 11th May, local chapters of HSS across Las Vegas, families and students came together to celebrate Guru Vandana at Clark County These gatherings were more than just events; they were vibrant expressions of cultural heritage and communal appreciation for the teaching community. 

The Guru Vandana events were attended by over 100 people, including 21 honored teachers, coaches, professors, and members of the broader Hindu community. Distinguished guests, such as the Head of the computer science department Dr. Laxmi Gawali from the University of Las Vegas State University, added to the significance of the occasion.

The afternoon unfolded with a kaleidoscope of Indian cultural performances, including classical dances, yoga dance showcasing traditional postures. Through these artistic expressions, students not only entertained but also paid homage to their rich heritage. Additionally, we hosted a Darshana posters exhibition, offering a glimpse into Hindu civilization and cultural heritage.

In a gesture of profound respect, students invited their teachers onto the stage, where they were honored according to Indian Hindu tradition. It was a poignant moment as students, following cultural norms, touched their teachers’ feet to seek blessings—a gesture symbolizing humility and reverence

Culinary Delights and Cultural Immersion:

The celebrations didn’t end with performances and formalities. Indian attire was provided for teachers to try on, adding a playful touch to the afternoon as they posed for snapshots. And what better way to conclude a cultural event than with a sumptuous feast of Indian cuisine, bringing together flavors and aromas that tantalize the senses?

As the festivities came to a close, teachers expressed their heartfelt thanks for being a part of such a unique and meaningful celebration. Beyond the colorful displays and delectable dishes, it was the genuine appreciation and camaraderie that made Guru Vandana truly special.

Please refer to below links for Video highlights and photos

As submitted by Vivek Deshpande, Program Coordinator to Celebrate Guru Vandana

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