A Rainbow of People in Richmond Hills Celebrate Holi

13 Mar

   Two Princesses

  Always after the last full moon in winter, the Indo-Caribbean community in Richmond Hills,Queens turns into a mass of colorful people in celebration of the Hindu festival of Holi or Phagwah. The festival originated in India and the tradition has been kept through the years by the Guyanese and Trinidadians living in the city. Originally observed to be a victory of good over evil, it has turned more into a celebration of the new spring season and shaking off the dull winter blahs with the spreading of colored powder on every willing spectator. As I stepped on Liberty Ave. for the start of the parade, I couldn’t help notice the excitement in both the marchers and revelers with the anticipation of kicking off the festivities. The unusually warm weather brought out a larger crowd than in previous years. This year’s parade was building up to be better than previous years as there were more organizations participating and there were almost twice as many floats as last year. The youth group banging on the drums got the crowd geared up for the start of the festive parade soon followed by parade sponsors and VIPs in a slow-paced procession down Liberty Ave. to greet the crowd.

     The first of many floats appeared playing lively Guyanese music followed by a youth group representing the traditional legends of Holi. Lord Vishnu was seen playing the flute and being tempted by several young ladies. Some marching drummers got the crowd into the festive spirit even more with their thumping rhythmic beats. One young lady showed off her moves to the delight of the crowd. About a dozen mandir floats followed each with their own message of peace and love. The spacing could have been a little better as the music would blend in at times but otherwise the festivities kept building up in anticipation of the festival at the end of the parade route in Smokey Park. Thousands of people gathered after the parade to let the powder fly and help kick out the winter doldrums and usher in the new Spring with plenty of color and energy. The drummers gathered and just jammed all day long. When one drummer got tired of banging the drum another was soon to follow. Everywhere you looked people were spreading the colored powder in a respectful manner. Rainbow people were dancing to the live drums and enjoying the warm weather and getting ready for the arrival of Spring.

HAPPY HOLI.

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