Guyana: HOLI, the festival of colors, has been known traditionally as a Hindu observance which symbolizes good over evil. And over the last few decades, having been observed in a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural society such as Guyana, it has served as a tool which fosters national unity in a country which continues to make active strides in achieving same.
Holding this convention is President of the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha, Dr Vindhya Persaud, who told the Guyana Chronicle that the feeling which emerged from the celebration yesterday is one which Guyanese should embrace every day. “This is the kind of feeling we want to see every day, not just on Phagwah,” Dr Persaud said.
“Everyone was having a good time and it was clean fun. Families were out in their numbers and I think it brought out the true meaning of Holi which is unity, oneness and that sense of equality. The true meaning of Phagwah is that we erase all barriers and differences” she said, adding that the 2016 festival was wonderful.
Meanwhile, she commented on the use of alcohol during these celebrations, stating that Guyana has come a far way in this regard and has registered success. A few years ago, the Sabha’s President had issued a call for there to be a ban on the sale and use of alcohol at Hindu observances, since it undermines the religious significance and taints the observance. And since then, she noted that efforts are being made to erode this culture which is not limited to Hindus.
“During Hindu observances, especially Navratri, I’m happy when I pass the liquor shops and they are empty. But that is not saying that only Hindus consume alcohol, it is not limited to one group. But I want to continue my appeal to tell people to respect the Hindu festivals, because they are highly spiritual and while there is a social dimension to it, there is a time for prayer also,” she said.
Dr Persaud further added that the campaign against the banning of alcohol was a successful attempt at eroding the perceived link between Hindu holidays and alcohol. And having registered success in this regard, she noted that people understand what it means to have clean fun and not incorporate the use of alcohol during these celebrations. “I also want to appeal to the young people to understand the significance of these holidays even while they are having fun,” she added.