ROME, (C.M. Paul) – One of the unique features that the Salesian University Rome (UPS) claims to have is the annual “Incontro dei Popoli” organized by the Campus Ministry Coordinator Prof. Mario Llanos. Coming at the fag end of the second semester, it is kept with great colour and gaiety. An open air stage is erected in the University Square for this major cultural event which show case songs and folk dances from five continents.
Each day of the festival, during the main morning break, students from participating countries display their cultural heritage for some 15 minutes. Both staff and students try hard out do each other in dressing up in their traditional attires and fineries.
It is very interesting to see, how students and professors turn up from all directions, from the lecture halls into the piazza. This year 13 countries are participating the People’s Festival which started on Monday (9th May) with Romania as patron.
The Romanian Ambassador to the Holy See inaugurated the festival along with Vice-Chancellor of the University Dr. Carlo Nanni. Festival is scheduled to conclude on 20th May.
The participants at all the events are a mixture of priests, nuns and laity. It provides great photo opportunity to catch some religious out of their “habits”.
For some 100 Indians at the UPS, including 11 professors, 18th May, was the day to show off. This year’s Indian show, apparently had more audience than other days of the festival. It started off with the singing of the Indian national anthem.
Prof. Cyril D’Souza introduced the couples representing different states participating in the cultural costume exhibition, as well as a cricket demo to mark India’s world cup win, last month.
Bollywood style medley of song and dance followed coordinated by Lijo and Linus, both theology students from Gerini, Rome.
The energetic beat enthralled the audience who could not resist from dancing in the piazza. At one moment during the dance, the lead dancers jumped into the crowd to encourage solo dancers.
The entire event was coordinated by the UPS India office bearers Frs. Previnth & Lourdusamy along with Srs. Regin & Beena.
During the show, audience had the opportunity to sample Indian sweets.
At the university feast of Mary Help of Christians, 24th May, the Indians are given the opportunity to offer aarati to the Eucharistic Lord after the Doxology. Sr.Regin is in charge of that service.
The feast of Mary Help of Christians marks the endof the academic year. It will be followed by serious study days and final exams which last till the end of June.
After a prolonged photo session, the Indian delegation gathered for the felicitation function for members involved in the song and dance programme. It was followed by a fellowship meal and farewell gathering organized by Fr Manoj and team, for those returning to India at the end of this semester.