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March 3, 2010 > Festival of colors

Festival of colors

By Meenu Gupta
Photos By courtesy of Sandip Shah

One of the most vibrant festivals, Holi, marks the end of winter gloom and rejoices in the bloom of spring. A symbol of victory of good over evil, beginning of summer, and end of cold and hardship, Holi is a celebration of the indomitable human spirit. The festival spreads hope, unfettered joy, friendship and bright hues of colors. In India, streets come alive with throngs of people splashing bright orange, red and green colors as they meet each other and celebrate friendship and harmony. Indian people in the U.S. celebrate the festival with traditional fervor, spreading the message of unity and harmony amidst diversity. Each year, Holi events in the Tri-City area promise colors, music, dance, food and lots of fun for all ages.

Colors filled the atmosphere at Fremont Hindu Temple this year on Sunday, February 28, like every other, as people gathered to celebrate the festival with cultural programs and dance performances. "It is such a colorful and cheerful sight to watch people coloring each other. Every year around 600-800 people play Holi in Fremont Hindu Temple," said Ajay Jain Bhutoria, Chairman of the Youth Committee. "Children take special delight in the festival. And it is not just children, but young and the old alike who take delight in this joyous festival of colors." The festival is about abandoning cares of the world and rejoicing and dancing. "Life becomes colorful. On this day, people do not differentiate between age or race and everybody celebrates the festival together with a spirit of brotherhood," he added.

Holi is an ancient festival of India originally known as Holika. One famous legend says there once lived a mighty demon king named Hiranyakashyap who had conquered all three worlds - heaven, earth and hell - and had thus become very proud. He enforced a law that everybody would worship him instead of gods and deities. However, his little son Prahlad refused to accept his commands and continued to worship Lord Vishnu with complete devotion. Infuriated by this defiance, Hiranyakshyap asked his sister, Holika to enter a blazing fire with Prahlad in her lap, as she had the ability to enter fire unscathed. Legend has it that Prahlad was saved by his extreme devotion for the lord while Holika paid a heavy price for her sinister desire. The tradition of burning Holika comes from this legend.

Holi also celebrates the legend of Hindu Goddess Radha and Lord Krishna, which describes the extreme delight Krishna took in applying color on Radha and others. It is said that when Krishna was a young boy, he asked his mother the reason for his dark complexion while Radha was so fair. His mother, Yashoda, playfully suggested that he should smear color on Radha's face and change her complexion to any color he wanted. He liked the idea and since then, the play of colors on Holi became part of the festivities.

Enjoy holi themed songs at a Holi special karaoke organized by Induz, a non-profit with a mission to connect people and culture through art. The event aims to raise awareness and funds for "Tulika Project" that provides art and music education to children at the Santosh Orphanage in Bangalore, India.

Holi celebrations begin with lighting a bonfire on the eve of Holi. On the following day, called Dhuleti, people rub gulal, which is brightly colored powder, on each others' faces and cheer up.

Enjoy this colorful festival amidst songs, dances and live music with Bay Area Youth Vaishnav Parivar (BAYVP), a Milpitas based non-profit organization. Play Dhuleti outside in the parking lot with colored powder (no water allowed). For more information contact Ambrish Damani at (412) 983-9220 or write to Religious ceremony and recitals will start at 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 7. For more information contact Sapnaben Kanani at (408) 263-1515 or write to Tickets can be bought at the temple or online at

Holi celebration
Saturday, March 6
11 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Sunday, March 7
3 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

5:30 p.m. onwards
Aarti followed by Mahaprasad

Shreemaya Krishnadham
25 Corning Ave., Milpitas
(408) 586-0006

Holi Garba 2010 (Dance)
Saturday, March 6
8 p.m. - 11:30 p.m.
Centerville Junior High School
37720 Fremont Blvd., Fremont
(510) 793-8423

Non-members: $8 per person with advance purchase, $10 at gate
Free for GCA members and kids under 5
Free parking

Induz Karaoke "Sing for Art" - Holi Special
Friday, March 26
7 p.m. - 11 p.m.
Swagat Indian Cuisine
4918 Paseo Padre Pkwy., Fremont
(510) 875-5006
$10 general; $5 children (ages 5-9)

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