Through volunteering with the AALV, I have had the opportunity to photograph community events and festivals being celebrated by Burlington’s refugee and immigrant populations. Every time I attend an event, I am uplifted and humbled. It is powerful to watch a group of people coming together and celebrating their cultural traditions so far away from their homeland.
This fall I attended Krishna Jasnmashtami, put on by the Tibetan Association of Vermont. Many of the individuals in the Hindu community of Burlington lived in refugee camps for years, some for over two decades. Observing all of the meticulous preparation of the alter, hearing the community sing, dance and chant, and watching the young children play, makes you realize how the richness and beauty of the human spirit still exists in struggle.
Krishna Janmashtami celebrates the birth of Krishna. The Bhutanese community and the Tibetan Association of Vermont rented a pavilion at the Ethan Allen Homestead, in Burlington, Vermont. They richly decorated the interior, and had a huge alter, musicians and incense. There was a lot of dancing and singing.
The priest read from the Bhagavad Gita, and some of the children were dressed up to reenact stories from Krishna’s life. I went during my lunch break, and shot a few pictures. The community is always welcoming and so appreciative of me photographing their special celebrations. I was encouraged to take a break from photographing, eat some amazing food and dance. I came back from lunch rejuvenated.