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Fate of Indo-Caribbean Phagwah parade in New York to be announced today

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New York: The popular Indo-Caribbean Hindu parade, Phagwah, is seen bound in the shackles of a lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed by the Hindu Parade and Festival Committee against the Federation of Hindu Mandirs last month.

As a result, the New York state Supreme Court has issued a restraining order. The Federation will no more advertise or hold the parade in Queens. Today, the judge will decide who the city should grant a parade permit to.

Phagwah is a good-natured, joyful, Hindu religious holiday observed in March which celebrates the triumph of good over evil. Hindus are seen wearing white this day. A harmless, red dye liquid known as ‘abeer’ is thrown upon each other playfully. Family, friends and neighbors, whether Hindu or not, celebrate the day with lots of powder, perfume and water throwing.

Upset by the decision, the festival committee members feel they are the rightful organizing party to receive the permit. This is because they have been holding the parade since it started in 1988.

“We have to fight for it,” said Roy Singh, president of the Hindu Parade and Festival Committee. “For me, people say, ‘You are fighting the other people.’ No, this is not fighting. This is worth fighting for against the evil element. This is in my blood. We do this as community work, and we do it because we love it.”

Unhappy about the lawsuit, the general secretary of the Federation of Hindu Mandirs is eagerly waiting for the outcome of the court case, likely to occur today. (Imagesource: gtmosquito.com)

Watch one-minute video on the issue HERE

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Hindu Icons Which Have Spiritual Significance

These icons have to be treated with extreme respect and should not be touched or removed without the owners consent.

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rangoli
Rangoli, Toran, Aum and Swastika – optional display inside or outside the home. Pixabay

Hindu Council of Australia has compiled a list of Hindu Icons that Hindus may wear on their body and which have spiritual significance. This list has been made to remove confusion among non-Hindus about what is sacred to Hindus.

Hindu Sacraments worn on the body

Hindu icons all year round

bangles
Bangles worn on wrists by women – a cultural item. Pixabay

Scared Hindu icons that can not be removed

  1. Nose stud – essential for girls during puberty, can not be removed for one year.
  2. Yajnopavit/Janaue – essential for boys after their Yajnopavit right of passage, once worn can not be removed and worn again without extensive rituals (not even during swimming lessons)
  3. Sindoor/Mangalsutra – essential for married women. Removal is not permitted while husband is alive.
  4. Choti/Shikha – small hair tail for boys during a right of passage.
  5. Pagdi (Turban, A cloth wrapped around the head) – touching or removing it is disrespectful. It can be removed for a short period in privacy, like when having a shower and must be worn as soon as possible.
  6. Sivalingam (Veera and Adi Shiva people, Lingayat) or other Hindu Gods as pendant in a necklace.

Sacred Hindu icons that can be removed by the wearer

  1. Bindi – optional for women and girls, it can not be removed by others.
  2. Bangles worn on wrists by women – a cultural item
  3. Kondhani – a bracelet made of black thread worn around the waist
  4. Anklets (Pahjeb, Payal) – a metal bracelet worn on ankles
  5. Ear rings/studs for boys and girls in some families
  6. Gem stone on rings for special effects of planets
  7. Hindu Sacraments worn on Special Occasions

    Anklets (Pahjeb, Payal) – a metal bracelet worn on ankles
    Anklets (Pahjeb, Payal) – a metal bracelet worn on ankles. Pixabay
  1. Tulsi Mala – A necklace of Tulsi beads. During special religious observations.
  2. Teeka, Tilak, Vibhuti – essential during Hindu prayers, optional otherwise
  3. Mehendi/henna/turmeric – essential when getting married or when a close family member gets married, optional for married women during karva chauth day. Henna is a fast colour (looks like a emporary tatto) that takes a week or more to fade away
  4. Men are not allowed to cut their hair during Sabramalai month (Mid of November to January 14/15)
  5. Rakhi – a special bracelet worn on special festival day of Rakhi.
  6. Kajal/Surma (dark black eye ointment)
  7. Raksha/mouli – multi colour thread bracelet as a protective icon during special days
  8. Gajra – a flower arrangement by woman at the back of there hair.

Hindu icons in a Hindu home

These icons have to be treated with extreme respect and should not be touched or removed without the owners consent.

  1. Rangoli, Toran, Aum and Swastika – optional display inside or outside the home.
  2. Home shrine

(Originally Published: Hindu Council of Australia)