July 4, 2009, Jamaica, Queens. Sri Chinmoy Centre members celebrated the 4th of July in New York with a Joy Day brimming with traditional festivities of cookouts, a boat ride and fireworks, and a meditation function featuring songs, plays and writings by Sri Chinmoy about America. The Joy Day in New York to celebrate America's birthday began with an afternoon of singing, meditation and plays on the theme of America. An excerpt of Sri Chinmoy's play about the revolutionary time period in American history, The Sacred Fire was acted out in full costume.After the meditation function with the theme of America, a cornucopia feast followed with an outdoor barbecue of veggie burgers, veggie dogs and grilled corn on the cob adjacent to the Aspiration-Ground. Many of our expert chefs contributed homemade salads, baked beans, strawberry shortcake and birthday cake for Palash, the Joy Day organizer who shares a birthday with America on July 4th.
After some games of Pictionary and "Guess Who I Am", the celebration continued with a boat ride out of Freeport New York for a chartered cruise out to see the fireworks on Jones Beach. We booked the entire boat, Miss Freeport V and a hundred of us shared in a powerful meditation on the upper deck, followed by prasad and then lights out for the fireworks!
Freeport was so scenic and touristy with its Nautical Mile that it was hard to believe it was such a short distance from the hustle and bustle of the city. Only a view of the Manhattan skyline in the distance served as a reminder of our bearings. Long Island's south shore gave a glorious show of her own prior to the fireworks with a dazzling sunset and pink/orange hued clouds creating a breathtaking mosaic across the sky.
Finally as the hour approached 10 pm, the fireworks began and the boat turned out the lights for all eyes to turn towards the shore where the fireworks display unfolded. Judging by the oohs and ahhs of the onlookers around me as well as the spontaneous applause, the fireworks show was a real crowd pleaser.
Especially popular were the fireworks that blazed in the sky forming shapes such as smile faces, hearts or birds.
By the time the boat returned to shore, a long and perfect day finally drew to a close. Many of us could not resist finishing off this sublimely fun day with an Italian Ice from Ralph's Famous Italian Ices along the water in Freeport.
Once finally home to Queens and meditating before drifting off to sleep, the entire day glowed with a wash of gratitude for the perfect weather, perfect meditations, perfect activities and joyful communion with our spiritual family in celebration of America's birthday.
For more of Sri Chinmoy's thoughts about America and the Founding Fathers visit: