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Festival of colors Holi celebrated in Virginia

People came out in large numbers despite a rainy day.

By S. Vijh and S.S. Manku

WASHINGTON, DC: Holi, the festival of colors, was celebrated with great enthusiasm at the Durga temple in Virginia on March 14th, 2015.

In spite of the rain, people came in big numbers to celebrate Holi. It was a beautiful sight to see colors splashed everywhere, even on the snow piles.  Many young participated in a day long fun.

Two big tents were put up for the stalls because of the rain, one had various stalls of traditional Indian jewelry, clothes and menhdi tattoos, while the other had food stall. Hot snacks like chole bhature, masala dosa, dhokla, aalu kachiori were savored by people. Fresh sugar cane juices along with desi chai were also favorites.

Along with the outdoor fun, an indoor cultural program included music and dance. The temple auditorium bellowed with the scintillating drum beat, while the youth showed their talent, presenting bhangra, Indian classical dances and popular Bollywood songs and dances.

Holi-Celebration-2

The fun just didn’t end there, after the cultural program, a ritual Holika dahan, burning of Holika effigy was performed. As the story goes Holika, a demoness, sister of KingHiranyakashipu and aunt of Prahlad. Tried to kill Prahlad but was burnt to death. The story of Holika dahan (Holika’s death) signifies the triumph of good over evil. Normally Holika is associated with the annual bonfire on the night before Holi.

Priests chanted mantras and offered coconuts, ghee and other stuff. Some young people sang and danced on traditional folk and Bollywood songs. As the darkness descended outside, another wonderful program was organized on the occasion, Holi Kavi Sammalan, Holi Poetry Recital, where a large number of people attended. Noted poet Narendra Tondon moderated the program. Many well known poets included Gulshan Madhur, Sukesha Chopra, Dr.Suman Vardaan, Rajiv Gupta, Surekha Vijh, Astha Naval, Ritu Chaudhari and others participated.
According to Durga temple, the registration for the program began on January 24 and ended on February 14th, when the first 30 programs were received.

Holi is celebrated at the approach of vernal equinox, on the Phalguna Purnima (Full Moon). The festival date varies every year, per the Hindu calendar, and typically comes in March, sometimes February in the Gregorian calendar. The festival signifies the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring, end of winter, and for many a festive day to meet others, play and laugh, forget and forgive, and repair ruptured relationships.

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