Hanging Tough With the Rainbow People in Queens

17 Mar
Happy Holi

Happy Holi

After the last full moon of the winter season, the Caribbean Hindus celebrate like no other culture in the city. Richmond Hills in Queens is home to the largest Guyanese  and Trinidadian population in the US. The tradition of spreading colorful powder on each other goes back to over a thousand years from the celebrations of India. It’s symbolic of chasing away the dull winter and welcoming in the arrival of a colorful and fertile spring and it also represents the triumph of good versus evil. Liberty Ave. in Richmond Hills, Queens was buzzing with marchers getting ready to celebrate Phagwah or Holi with several floats filled with people spreading colored powder on each other. Although it was a bright sunny day, old man winter still had a hold on the weather and it was still below normal temps. Perhaps the long brutal winter months made the crowd more exuberant in their celebration because the energy level was sky high for this year’s parade.

Let the celebration begin

Let the celebration begin

Friends enjoying the celebration

Friends enjoying the celebration

Jamming at the parade

Jamming at the parade

In keeping with tradition, a young dancer dressed in traditional costume danced to the gods pleading for no impediment to the festivities that lay ahead. Once she finished dancing the parade organizers led the way down Liberty Ave. followed by various floats mostly from neighborhood mandirs (houses of worship). They all had messages of positive living and spiritual guidance not to mention blaring speakers with traditional music to get the crowd worked up for the festival in Smokey Oval Park where the parade route ended. One particular group of drummers really got the crowd worked up with their energetic play. Once the parade route turned off the commercial end of Liberty Ave. and onto the residential street heading towards Smokey Oval Park, homeowners would gently smear colored powder to anyone walking past their home. That’s one of the best things about this parade, total strangers patting each other on the face or shoulders with colored powder and saying Happy Holi and by the end of the parade most people look like a rainbow of color and having some good wholesome fun. After this tough winter there were thousands of people in Smokey Oval Park ready to welcome in the color of spring.

phagwah14 002 phagwah14 014 phagwah14 017 phagwah14 018 phagwah14 031 phagwah14 035 phagwah14 040 phagwah14 070 phagwah14 075 phagwah14 079 phagwah14 082 phagwah14 089 phagwah14 102 phagwah14 110 phagwah14 118 phagwah14 120 phagwah14 143 phagwah14 156 phagwah14 160 phagwah14 161 phagwah14 163phagwah14 007

Happy Holi to Everyone

Happy Holi to Everyone

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: