Celebrating Diversity: SAAB’s Journey to Unite and Illuminate Bedford with South Asian Culture

April 16, 2024
SAAB committee members, from left to right, include Lalitha Gunturi Ranganath, Amee Mistry, Dhiren Patel, Mehul Shah, Taruna Shah, Sushma Raja, and Sonal Patel. Learn more about the team at SAAB – Our Team. Courtesy photo

By Satya Behara 

In recent years, Bedford and its residents have increasingly embraced a vibrant cultural tapestry, integrating diverse communities to strengthen and further unify the town. Among these, the South Asian community has made significant contributions with the South Asian Association of Bedford (SAAB) at the forefront of introducing South Asian culture to the area.

Founded in 2014, SAAB started as a casual gathering of friends and neighbors with shared heritage and quickly grew into a mission-driven effort to promote cross-cultural understanding and appreciation across Bedford. Now a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit, SAAB annually organizes a variety of events to celebrate the rich traditions, cuisines, arts, and values of South Asian countries, serving as a bridge between South Asian families and the wider Bedford community.

Last year, SAAB’s cultural initiatives included the Inaugural Bedford Holi Program in May and the Annual Diwali Program in November, both of which played pivotal roles in enriching Bedford’s cultural landscape and fostering community engagement.

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Courtesy photo from Jackie Clarkson Photography

A Tapestry of Cultural Harmony

SAAB’s mission finds its heart in the Holi and Diwali festivals, celebrated last year with remarkable success and drawing hundreds from diverse backgrounds. These festivals, carefully orchestrated by SAAB’s dedicated team, have become landmarks of cross-cultural celebration, significantly enriching the region’s cultural mosaic. Last year’s events underscore SAAB’s role in seamlessly integrating these vibrant traditions into Bedford’s community life, thereby enhancing its vibrancy and inclusiveness.

Digital Bridges and Community Engagement

SAAB is excited to announce the launch of its official website, www.saab-bedford.org, a pivotal step towards bridging distances and fostering ongoing engagement. This digital initiative serves as an essential conduit for information sharing and community participation, inviting Bedford to immerse in South Asian cultural celebrations. 

“Our website acts as a digital dais that not only connects but also educates and enriches our community with the diverse and colorful essence of South Asian culture,” said Mehul Shah, the President of SAAB. 

The platform also facilitates engagement with sponsors and media partners, illustrating SAAB’s dedication to fostering a more inclusive and culturally diverse community.

SAAB’s 2024 Plan

Inspired by the support from communities and associations across Bedford, SAAB is on a mission to celebrate South Asian traditions and ensure their full integration and representation within the wider Bedford community. Last year was a stunning success, and SAAB aims to continue this momentum to ensure a tighter integration with the broader Bedford community SAAB plans to host three key programs in 2024 to further its mission:

  • Annual Holi Program on Sunday, May 5 at E Field at the Town Center.
  • Night of Stars: Bedford Bollywood Dance Night in September (Date TBD)
  • Annual Diwali Gala on Sunday, Nov. 10 at the Sons of Italy, Watertown

Bedford citizens can find more information about the events on SAAB’s official website.

Anticipation for Bedford Annual Holi Program

The excitement is palpable for the upcoming Holi Celebration from 2 to 4 p.m. on May 5 at E Field, Mudge Way with a rain date of May 19. 

Known as the Festival of Colors, Holi is a traditional South Asian festival that celebrates the arrival of spring, the end of winter, and the blossoming of love. It’s a day to meet others, play and laugh, forget and forgive, and repair broken relationships. SAAB invites the Bedford community to join this exuberant festival, which symbolizes the essence of SAAB’s vision for a culturally vibrant and united community.  

As we look forward to this enriching celebration, we’re reminded of the enduring connections and collective joy fostered by SAAB’s cultural events. 

Bedford residents are invited to mark their calendars, learn more, and register for the event, showcasing SAAB’s dedication to celebrating diversity, fostering unity, and driving progress in the community. This journey, driven by SAAB’s dedication, continues to knit a rich tapestry of cultural harmony and mutual respect, promising a day as enriching as it is unforgettable.

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