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Dahi handi celebrations to have Spanish flavour

Dahi handi celebrations to have Spanish flavour

Author: Nitin Yeshwantrao
Publication: The Times of India
Date: August 21, 2011
URL: http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-08-21/mumbai/29911701_1_dahi-handi-human-pyramid-terror-attacks

It promises to be a classic East meets West scenario when Mumbai's Govinda groups and the famed Castellers from Spain slug it out on the streets of Thane to form the highest human tower on Monday.

The 175-strong troupe from Villafranca will display their skill in forming a nine to ten layer human pyramid at the dahi handi celebrations organized by NCP leader Jitendra Awhad at Pachpakhadi in central Thane.

Traditional Catalan music will be played as the teams attempt to outdo one another.

"It is a new beginning where we are getting to learn about the culture and way of life in India. In our country, we celebrate the formation of human pyramids as a tradition to bring in the harvest season and we perform about 40 times a year in various places all over Europe. However, we were fascinated when we first saw pictures of Govinda groups from India and so, we are here to learn from them too," said coach David Miret. While the oldest of the troupe is a 71-year-old veteran of many performances, the youngest, a four-year-old girl, seems at ease at her place at the top.

Awhad, who has been accused of encouraging a dangerous game and commercializing the festival by offering huge cash prizes for dahi handi groups, said he is only trying to raise the level of camaraderie and put the festival on the international events' calendar.

"I firmly believe that it is a unique event. People from two different civilizations will come together and share their experiences about their traditions. Our dahi handi groups and the Castellers come from varied socio-economic backgrounds, but both have the same passion and zeal," he said.

The Castellers are also scheduled to make a trip to the sites of the 26/11 terror attacks in south Mumbai and will form a human pyramid at the Gateway of India as a mark of respect to the victims of the terror attacks.

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