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How to celebrate Holi in New York?

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Holi
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New York: Holi- the Indian festival of colors- is arriving (March 23). New York and New Jersey are home a large concentration of Asian Indians: the estimates suggest that there are close to 700 thousand (7 Lakh) Indians in these 2 states. And then of course there are close to 250 thousand (2.5 Lakh) Indo-Caribbeans in New York. They are from Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago, tracing their ancestry to East India. Thus, there is over a 1 million (10 Lakh) strong Indian diaspora in New York and New Jersey. If you include the population of Indians in neighboring Connecticut, the number swells up further.

Naturally, Indians are gearing up for the festival this year as well. The festival is a significant one to the Hindus across the world, hence, it is celebrated in high spirit among Hindu Americans also.

For thousands of years now, Hindus in India and all over the world have celebrated Holi as the victory of good over evil, and as the renewal of the agricultural seasons.

Local celebrations vary, and abundant use of color can be seen among people.

To make their Holi more colorful, here are the two events, which attract huge crowds every year, and which an Indian in New York must not miss. This is not to say that there are no other celebrations planned. Typically, Indians celebrate festivals through their temples and congregations.

28th Annual Phagwah Parade in Richmond Hill, New York

Celebrating Holi 2016 on March 26, 2016.

A joint Parade under the sponsorship of the founders- Arya Spiritual Center, the Hindu Parades and Festivals Committee, and The Federation of Hindu Mandirs.

The Phagwah Parade in Richmond Hill, Queens, is the biggest celebration in North America. If it’s a warm day, a turnout of as many as 25,000 may be witnessed.

Phagwah, or Holi, is the Indo-Caribbean Hindu celebration of the New Year.

Indicating the arrival of spring, Phagwah literally paints the streets as kids and families “color” one another with dye (abrac) and powder, chasing away the winter grays. The Carnival is celebrated with high-spirit.

For more information about the event, click here.

History of Phagwah:

In Guyana and Surinam, Phagwah became an important national holiday, and everyone had the day off from work.

Since the 1970s, many Guyanese have immigrated to the United States, especially to areas of Richmond Hill and Jamaica in Queens. As a result, they brought the Phagwah tradition to their new homes.

New York’s Holi event ‘Rang Barse’ is back with a colorful splash!

In keeping with the tradition, Rang Barse will once again be held for the ninth year in a row. The event takes place on a ship that will set sail from Pier 40 this year.

It is one of the most colorful and fun-filled Holi party set to happen on March 26 in Hornblower Pier 40, New York.

Every year, people filled with enthusiasm are seen painted in reds, yellows, greens, and pinks, and enjoying the Indian Festival of colors in style with food, drinks, and the amazing beats of DJs.

Dance performances are also conducted.

This is a unique cultural experience which is hard to miss.

For more information about the event, click here.

Next Story

Black Friday Impacts Online Sales

Many stores offer deep discounts to attract customers

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Black Friday Shopping
Hundreds of shoppers wait for the doors to open at Best Buy, in Mayfield Height, Ohio. VOA

The Friday after Thanksgiving is traditionally one of the biggest shopping days of the year. Black Friday is viewed as the start of the holiday shopping season, a time when U.S. retailers rake in a significant portion of the year’s profits.

Many stores offer deep discounts to attract customers, and shoppers often line up early for a chance to grab a great deal before supplies run out.

“I think it is a very good sales gimmick,” says James E. Schrager, professor of entrepreneurship and strategy at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. “And what’s been happening for a few decades now is that retailers are very worried about when they get the customer into their store for this huge seasonal buying season. And they know it comes and goes very quickly … so this is a very good idea, so that they make sure they get their time — that is, the customer’s time — in their store to show off what they have.”

Macy’s, the department store, is believed to be the first retailer to advertise after-Thanksgiving Day shopping during their Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York in 1924. Black Friday shopping grew more popular in the 1930s.

Black Friday Shopping
A traffic jam is negotiated in the aisles of Toys R Us, in San Rafael Calif. which was crowded with Black Friday shoppers. VOA

“Black Friday was a way to make sure that, for the season, they would make their number,” Schrager says. “ ‘Make their number,’ in the retail business, means sell more than you did last year. So every retailer loves to grow. Every retailer wants to get bigger and have better market share than it had the year before.”

Legos, cameras and a high-end backpack were among the hot online searches going into Black Friday 2019, according to Google, the online search engine. But where people will actually shop on the day after Thanksgiving isn’t clear.

“I can’t speak necessarily specifically to that because, of course, you don’t necessarily know what any one person is doing,” says Molly VandenBerg, a Google trends expert. “When we look at search behavior, people do certainly come to Google to search for things like where to buy a particular item.”

Schrager says online shopping hasn’t diminished Black Friday’s significance to the nation’s brick-and-mortar retailers.

“I think it’s more important than ever,” he says. “Online retailing is new, it’s new and it’s newsy. But if you look at the numbers … 89 percent of everything bought new is sold in regular stores.”

Walmart's Black Friday event
Customers continue to use their phones – and the Walmart app – as a shopping tool during Walmart’s Black Friday event in Bentonville, Arkansas. VOA

Online sales accounted for just 11.2 percent of total sales in the third quarter of 2019 — the months of April, May and June — according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. Over the past 10 years, there’s been a little under 1 percent growth per year in online retailing.

Online shopping sales are expected to grow 18% this year, according to a recent Deloitte holiday retail survey.

The same survey finds that nearly two-thirds of shoppers plan to look online for gift inspiration. However, more than half of the consumers surveyed still plan to head into the store to see and touch a product before purchasing it.

ALSO READ: Online Shopping Giant Amazon makes Customers pay more for Popular items

But there are other ways to incorporate technology into the holiday shopping season.

“If you’re heading out into the stores, you might want to know how crowded they’re expected to be before you get there,” says VandenBerg, the Google trends expert. “And you can do this with the ‘Popular Times’ feature. If you’re looking at a particular store, or even like a grocery shop, you would be able to see an estimate of how busy we anticipate it would be, or how long you might wait.” (VOA)