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♦The Festival of Holi.
♦The Festival of Phagwa.
♦The Festival of Colours.
♦The Festival of Love.
That was the photo walk event that we had the opportunity to attend this past Sunday with the Photography Focus Group, led by Ms. Maria Nunes and Mr. Ghanshyam Mohammed.

A Religious Hindu celebration to welcome the Season of Spring; to start anew, to forgive and forget the past, to rid oneself of evil and to go forward with a new light, where everyone is equal and at peace with each other. Everyone is welcome and Everyone is one.

Many countries around the world celebrate this festival as a National holiday, but here in Trinidad, we celebrate it on the closest Sunday to the beginning of the Spring Season around the world.

The first official day of Spring also has a religious and cultural significance for me, as it is marks the end of the Bahá’í Fasting Period with our New Year (which also coincides with the Persian New Year): Naw-Rúz (Nooruz / Nowruz), all which translate to be New Day in English!

 

We met with the group and made our way to the Hindu Prachar Kendra Phagwa Festival, in Enterprise, Chaguanas. The program started with prayers and then continued with singing and dancing throughout the whole afternoon… And this was only the beginning of what was in store for us!

One of the main traditions of Phagwa / Holi is that a coloured pigmented powder (known as abir or gulal) and the abir in a liquid form, is smeared / sprayed / poured and shared among the participants, while enjoying the musical instruments, songs and dance performances. 

The act is in friendship and love, that we all look the same, no matter what our race or stature or background may be. Everyone is fair game. There are many legends around the origins of the religious Holi Festival, all with the underlying message: good triumphs over evil and we are all equal.

(click on any photograph to view)

Speaking of which, the different colours are said to have different blessings, different good wishes, different meanings!

Take for example the basic colours*:
Red = energy, excitement, ambition, love, life, fertility & beauty, and is considered one of the more important colours in Hindu religion.
Blue = affection, faith, spiritual growth & protection.
Green = positivity, harvest, nature, happiness, freshness & coolness.
Orange = new beginnings, spiritual path & knowledge.
Yellow = prosperity, health & peace.

AND by the end of the evening, we were all covered in the colours, joining in the fun and excitements and welcoming these wonderful blessings.

The style of singing is Pichakaree, named after the makeshift water gun that adults and children alike, spray the participants with the beautiful coloured gulal, sharing the blessings and love to all. Pichakaree, similar to calypsos, is sometimes a local commentary of the events going on around us… be it a political or news worthy event, both locally or internationally or even someone’s personal story to tell. It is a form of communication, of culturally sharing.

Included in the day are a couple of games or light competitions… for example the “powder” blowing event for the children, or working together to support each other and form a pyramid, to obtain the flag.

As most of you know, photographing people is something out of my comfort zone… but my challenge to myself was just that; to get out of my comfort zone! to capture the people and as well as the moments. Here are a select few photographs from throughout the day! Look at these beautiful smiles!

It was a beautiful day, filled with love and laughter, friendship and comradery.
I am so glad we took the opportunity to attend. Thank-you.

 

Have you ever participated in the Festival of Holi?
Have you ever wanted too?
Please share your thoughts and comments below.

* References:
1) https://beebulletin.com/holi-color-meanings/
2) https://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/holi-festival-colors-meaning-180958119/
3) http://www.sensationalcolor.com/color-meaning/color-around-the-world/india-holi-festival-colors-1941#.XJrvjMBKi1s

 

(press publish and then let go)