Thursday April 26, 2018
Home Indian Diaspora Hindu Council...

Hindu Council of New Zealand to celebrate Holi with grandeur

0
//
188
Photo: blog.ninecolours.com

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.

Source: http://www.scoop.co.nz

Next Story

Right of Nature: Are Rivers Living Beings?

Should rivers be considered Living Entities?

0
//
46
Right of Nature
Many cultures across the globe believe that rivers are living beings or Gods/Goddesses and they just take the form of water bodies.

By Dr. Bharti Raizada, Chicago

Science says that water bodies are not living entities, as water does not need food, does not grow, and reproduce. Water is required for life, but in itself it is nonliving.

However, many cultures across the globe believe that rivers are living beings or Gods/Goddesses and they just take the form of water bodies.

The Maori tribe in New Zealand considers the Whanganui River as their ancestor and the Maori people fought to get it a legal status as a living being. In 2017, a court in New Zealand gave this river the status of living being and same rights as humans, to protect it from pollution. Thus, now if someone pollutes in it then it is considered equivalent to harming a human.

ALSO READ: Worshiping mother nature part of our tradition: Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Right of Nature
Rivers are sacred in many religions, including Hinduism. Image courtesy: Dr. Bharti Raizada

Rivers are sacred in Hinduism also. Hindus believe that the Ganga descended from heaven and call her Ganga Maa. A few days after New Zealand’s court decision, Uttarakhand high court in India gave the Ganga and Yamuna rivers and their tributaries the status of living human entities. The Court-appointed three officials as legal custodians. However, the court did not clarify many aspects related to this decision.

After this verdict some of the questions, which naturally came to mind, were:

Can Hindus still do rituals of flowing ashes, leaves, flowers, diyas in river or no? Can a dam be built on the river after this judgment? If some damage, to a person, animal, plants, or property, occurs because of river e.g. overflow, hurricanes, flooding etc., how the river will pay the liabilities? What if all rivers, oceans, ponds etc. are given the status of living beings? Will drinking water from river become a crime? What about taking water and using it for routine needs,  agriculture or building structures? Will it be illegal? If a child throws a stone in water, will it be a criminal act? Will fishing be considered stealing? What about boating? If someone is using heat near water and water evaporates, is it equal to taking the body part of a human being? What about taking a bath in the river?

Right of Nature
If the river gets a living status, as human, then we cannot use it for anything without its permission, so everyone has to stop touching the water. Image courtesy: Dr. Bharti Raizada

ALSO READ: Decoding supernatural: What is the nature of entities and gods who influence human behavior

Other queries, which arise, are:

Will animals and plants get the same status? What if you kill an ant or a chicken etc. or cut a tree? Will all animals and plants get a legal custodian?

Where is all the waste supposed to go? It has to go somewhere back in nature, right?

Uttrakhand state government challenged the judgement in Supreme Court and the latter reversed the judgment.

Right of Nature
So where do we stand? In my opinion, granting living status to nature is a different thing than giving protected status or preserving nature. Image by Dr. Bharti Raizada

ALSO READ: How nature destroys the negative tendencies in a positive manner

Ecuador’s constitution recognized the Right of Nature to exist, specifically Vilcabamba river, in 2008.

Then Bolivia passed the law of the right of mother earth and granted Nature equal rights as humans.

Many communities in the U.S.A. passed the Right of Nature law.

These laws are creating a dilemma or quandary also, as people need to use these resources. We cannot live without using natural resources. However, there is a difference between using natural resources and afflicting or destroying these. So, please use natural resources very diligently. Try not to vitiate nature.

On World Water Day (March 22), please start taking care of rivers, so that there is no need for future celebrations. It should not be a one-day celebration anyway, we should scrupulously look out for nature all the time.

Dr. Raizada is a practicing anesthesiologist.