New Zealand: Hindu Council of New Zealand wishes everyone on the occasion of Holi (Hindu festival of colours), which this year is going to be celebrated very close to the Easter weekend.
Holi signifies the celebration of the colours (diversity), and usually falls very close to the date of UNO’s Race Relations Day in the last week of March.
On the occasion of Holi, the Wellington chapter of Hindu Council of New Zealand has organised two free events, both are open to public. The tradition of Holi events in Wellington is already a number of years old, and has provided joyous occasion for all to indulge in revelry with colours.
The evening before Holi is the time for Holika Dahan (bonfire) followed by a day of revelry with colours on the actual day of Holi. Both these events will be organised in Wellington as follows:
1. Holika Dahan (Holika bonfire), on Wednesday, 23rd March (5.30pm to 7.30 pm), at the Hutt River bed off street from Harcourt Werry Drive, Lower Hutt. This event is subject to lifting of the blanket fire ban in Wellington region, if that does not happen, you may still attend a small yagna in the Fiji Indian Association Hall, Jackson Street (Hutt river end), Petone.
2. Holi Colours, on 26th March (2.00pm to 4.00 pm), at the Riddiford Garden, next to War Memorial Library, Lower Hutt CBD.
In the spirit of Race Unity Day, the events are supported by the Hutt Multicultural Council, The Nepali society of Wellington, Wellington Hindi School and the Hindu Organisations, Temples & Associations (HOTA) Forum.
“Holika dahan was organised as a general public event for the first time last year, and it drew a lot of attention from members of public,” said Smt. Vijeshni Rattan, Hindu Council of New Zealand (HCNZ) executive board member. “Over 300 people participated at Holika Dahan and Holi with colours last year”, added Dr. Rajiv Chaturvedi, national Vice President of HCNZ. Mr. Vinod Kumar, national President HCNZ, who has always supported the event by organising free delivery of colour powders, said: “Predicting from the increasing demand of colour powder, we have seen a steady growth of participants in Holi festival, and this year we are expecting more people to participate”.
At Holika Dahan, the bonfire symbolises burning of negatives in life (greed, jealousy, anger, power that is abused in wrong hands). After the bonfire, what is left and what shines is humility, compassion, love, the ability to share and care. These qualities are essential to respect diversity, and are celebrated in the most colourful way, that is, with colours. People celebrate by covering each other with coloured powder and drenching with coloured water. This colourful festival bridges social gaps and differences, bringing people and communities together. Holi is a festival of fun accompanied by folk songs and dances. Communities of Hindu Fijian heritage in New Zealand, strongly uphold the traditions of singing Holi folk songs.
Hindu Council of New Zealand upholds the Dharmic principle of “Vasudhaiv Kutumbkam” (the world is family). Through this free public event, we aim to celebrate with all members of Wellington public and any out of town or international visitors. The intermingling of all colours denotes the unity of all human kind at the festival of Holi. This year, there will also be donation boxes requesting a gold coin koha, which will be transferred to the relief fund for the victims of the recent hurricane in Fiji.
This festival is a smoke-free, alcohol-free and meat-free festival with free entry to the public.