St Augustine, as one of the oldest continuously occupied cities in the United States, is home to a rich history, diverse culture and cosmopolitan values. It is a befitting place for the Festival of Chariots which was held, as one of the oldest continuously held multicultural festivals in the world. In these times of uncertainty between nations, races, classes and cultures, a common platform for equality is needed, to inspire humanity towards peace, freedom and friendship.
The Festival of Chariots (Rathayatra) is the celebration of inviting into people’s hearts the Lord of the Universe (Sri Krishna – the All-Attractive One / Sri Jagannatha – the Master of the Universe) of Whom we are all a part. By offering a little service to the Lord, we can awaken our dormant love for Him within us. By watering the root of the tree all the branches are nourished. Similarly when service is given to the Lord of the Universe, all living beings become satisfied. This is known as Bhakti-Yoga, connection to the Lord through devotional service. By singing, dancing, cooking, feasting, decorating and having meaningful discussions about the glories and beauty of the Lord and His presence in our lives, we find a common platform for achieving peace, friendship and lasting happiness.
Chariots comes from the cultural heart of India, this ancient Ratha Yatra festival is an offering they bring to beautiful beaches, campuses and parades across Northern Florida.