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Festivity of Holi has now gone Global

we can easily comprehend that our HOLI is not just limited to the subcontinent region, it is travelling and settling into the hearts of people all around the world; just like us

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March 13, 2017: Holi is one of the main festivals of India. But you’ll be surprised to know that Holi is not just celebrated in India, but also in foreign countries. However, the time and tradition in which foreigners celebrate Holi very different from India.

While one country plays Holi with tomatoes, the other plays it with just water. In some countries, Holi is celebrated by lighting fire at the roundabout on roads. Although the names their Holi-like festivals are different, but they are played just like Indians play Holi.

ITALY

Not many people know about this but people in Italy celebrate Holi alike festival with a twist. They celebrate it with Oranges.

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The Battle of Oranges is a festival celebrated in the Northern Italian city of Ivrea where people in organized groups throw Oranges at each other. It is the largest food fight in Italy.

FRANCE

People of Normandy in France, burn the idols made of hay on this day. Before burning it, they keep abusing the idols and shout in front of it. They throw colours on it and on each other as well.

GERMANY

During Easter, people cut trees and bury them. Around this they keep sack of grass and burn it. On this day, they even put colour on each other and celebrate.

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SPAIN

Remember the amazing sequence where all the stars of the movie Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara indulged in the festivity of Tomato while they were in Spain? Yes, it was the way Spain plays Holi.

La Tomatina is a food festival held on the last Wednesday of August each year where thousands and thousands of people gather from all around the world and participate in the ‘Worlds Biggest Food Fight.’

South Korea

The Boryeong Mud Festival is an annual mud festival which takes place during the summer in Boreyong, a town in South Korea. The first mud festival started in 1998.

Mud festival attracts millions from around the globe that take place for two weeks where sports like mud wrestling, mud king, mud pool and mud skiing are organized.

These are the few examples where people celebrate our festival but with some twists. We can say it just on the basis of seniority. After all, our tradition of celebrating is the oldest and they followed our path or maybe got inspired from us.

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But there is a saying in Hindi, “Aloo aur Indians, duniya ke har kone mein mil jaaenge,” and we live it to this saying. We are scattered all around the globe spreading our traditions culture. So other than India, few countries which celebrate Indian festivity at massive level are-

United States of America

A sizeable population of Indians can be found in the USA, which tells us the reason why the festival is observed with such gaiety there. In USA, religious organizations and societies take the responsibility of organizing the festival. Musical programs and meets are conducted to fill the air with the spirit of India. New York is completely dabbled by the colorful waters. Holi is marked by parades and attended by Indians, rejoicing, playing with colors in the midst.

United Kingdom

In UK, the revelry of Holi is seen profoundly at places with a large congregation of Indians. The British city of Leicester is particularly known for its love for celebrating Indian festivals. The enthusiasm reaches its peak on the occasion of Holi. The joyous festival is marked with social gatherings and exchange of sweets. People enjoy the day by smearing colors on each other and playing with water, just as it is done back home, in India.

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South Africa

The Indians settled in South Africa have made it a point to keep the tradition of celebrating Holi alive in South Africa, the southernmost country of the continent of Africa. The Indians in South Africa play with colors, on the occasion of Holi. They sing songs, which is one of the prominent parts of the celebrations. People exchange gifts and greet each other and the evenings are spent in meeting friends and acquaintance.

After getting through all of the above, we can easily comprehend that our HOLI is not just limited to the subcontinent region, it is travelling and settling into the hearts of people all around the world; just like us.

Happy Global Holi India!

-prepared by Ashish Srivastava of NewsGram Twitter @PhulRetard

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Copyright 2017 NewsGram

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Rohingyas Repatriation to Myanmar Scrapped by Bangladesh

Negotiations for repatriation have been in the works for months.

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Rohingya, myanmar
An elderly Rohingya refugee holds a placard during a protest against the repatriation process at Unchiprang refugee camp near Cox's Bazar, in Bangladesh.VOA

Bangladesh’s plans to begin repatriating Rohingya Muslims to Myanmar Thursday were scrapped because officials were unable to find anyone who wanted to return to the country that has been accused of driving out hundreds of thousands in a campaign of ethnic cleansing.

The refugees “are not willing to go back now,” Refugee Commissioner Abul Kalam told The Associated Press. He said officials “can’t force them to go” but will continue to try to “motivate them so it happens.”

Some people on the government’s repatriation list disappeared into the sprawling refugee camps to avoid being sent home, while others joined a large demonstration against the plan.

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Workers build a Rohingya repatriation center in Gunndum near Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. VOA

UN urged a halt to repatriation

More than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims fled to Bangladesh from western Myanmar’s Rakhine state since August 2017 to escape killings and destruction of their villages by the military and Buddhist vigilantes that have drawn widespread condemnation of Myanmar.

The United Nations, whose human rights officials had urged Bangladesh to halt the repatriation process even as its refugee agency workers helped to facilitate it, welcomed Thursday’s development.

Firas Al-Khateeb, a spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees in Cox’s Bazar, said it was unclear when the process might begin again.

“We want their repatriation, but it has to be voluntary, safe and smooth,” he said.

Bangladesh officials declined to say whether another attempt at repatriation would be made Friday.

Bangladesh Foreign Minister A.H. Mahmood Ali told reporters in Dhaka late Thursday that “there is no question of forcible repatriation. We gave them shelter, so why should we send them back forcibly?”

Rohingya, myanmar
Rohingya refugee children shout slogans during a protest against the repatriation process at Unchiprang refugee camp near Cox’s Bazar, in Bangladesh. VOA

Pleading with Rohingya

At the Unchiprang refugee camp, a Bangladeshi refugee official implored the Rohingya on Thursday to return to their country over a loudspeaker.

“We have arranged everything for you, we have six buses here, we have trucks, we have food. We want to offer everything to you. If you agree to go, we’ll take you to the border, to the transit camp,” he said.

“We won’t go!” hundreds of voices, including children’s, chanted in reply.

Some refugees on the repatriation lists, which authorities say were drawn up with assistance from the UNHCR, said they don’t want to go back.

‘I don’t want to go back’

At the Jamtoli refugee camp, one of the sprawling refugee settlements near the city of Cox’s Bazar, 25-year-old Setara said she and her two children, age 4 and 7, were on a repatriation list, but her parents were not. She said she had never asked to return to Myanmar, and that she had sent her children to a school run by aid workers Thursday morning as usual.

“They killed my husband; now I live here with my parents,” said Setara, who only gave one name. “I don’t want to go back.”

She said that other refugees on the repatriation list had fled to other camps, hoping to disappear amid the crowded lanes of refugees, aid workers and Bangladeshi soldiers, which on Thursday were bustling with commerce and other activity.

Rohingya, Myanmar
Rohingya refugees shout slogans during a protest against the repatriation process at Unchiprang refugee camp near Cox’s Bazar, in Bangladesh. VOA

Plan to return 150 a day

Bangladesh had planned to send an initial group of 2,251 back from mid-November at a rate of 150 per day.

Myanmar officials, speaking late Thursday in the capital, Naypyitaw, said they were ready to receive the refugees. Despite those assurances, human rights activists said conditions were not yet safe for the Rohingya to go back.

The exodus began after Myanmar security forces launched a brutal crackdown following attacks by an insurgent group on guard posts. The scale, organization and ferocity of the crackdown led the U.N. and several governments to accuse Myanmar of ethnic cleansing and genocide.

Most people in Buddhist-majority Myanmar do not accept that the Rohingya Muslims are a native ethnic group, viewing them as “Bengalis” who entered illegally from Bangladesh, even though generations of Rohingya have lived in Myanmar. Nearly all have been denied citizenship since 1982, as well as access to education and hospitals.

Rohingya, Myanmar
Rohingya refugees cross floodwaters at Thangkhali refugee camp in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar district. VOA

Refugee camps bleak

The refugees survived the ransacking of villages, rapes and killings in Myanmar, but for many, life in Bangladesh’s squalid refugee camps has been bleak.

The refugees who’ve arrived in the last year joined a wave of 250,000 Rohingya Muslims who escaped forced labor, religious persecution and violent attacks from Buddhist mobs in Myanmar during the early 1990s.

Access to education and employment has been far from assured.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who hopes to retain power in December elections, has repeatedly complained that hosting more than a million Rohingya is taxing local resources.

Negotiations for repatriation have been in the works for months, but plans last January to begin sending refugees back were called off amid concerns among aid workers and Rohingya that their return would be met with violence.

Foreign leaders, including U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, criticized Myanmar’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi this week on the sidelines of a summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Singapore for her handling of the Rohingya crisis.

Also Read: Rohingya Muslims Remain Fearful Due To Forceful Repatriation

But on Thursday, Pence said that U.S. officials were “encouraged to hear that” the repatriation process would begin.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his country would continue working with international partners including the U.N. “to ensure that the Rohingya themselves are part of any decisions on their future.” (VOA)