News - Holi 2009
Over 5,000 join Holi celebrations in SF Bay Area

SAM RAO

SF Bay Area, Calif.

WHILE many lament that Indian culture suffers an erosion among those settled abroad, festivals like Holi, with its associated revelry, and Rang Panchami seem to be exceptions to such claims. The celebrations transcend time, nationality and religion. For Indian Americans, a small minority population in the area , such celebrations become a noteworthy event on the calendar.

Holi is regarded as the harbinger of spring. It was ushered with style in the SF Bay Area, with both Indians and non-Indians participating in large numbers. True to American tradition, it is celebrated on weekends, even if the actual festival falls during the week. The weekend of March 6-7 saw two major celebrations in Sunnyvale and San Jose. The Sunnyvale Hindu Temple saw major congregations of Indian Americans. Over 5,000 people attended the two-day traditional festivities, with the Holi ka dahan conducted on the night of March 6.

The traditional burning of Holika and circumambulation completed, the next day witnessing revelers of all ages and nuclear and extended families arriving to have fun and celebrate a tradition. By noon, dry gulal (colored powder) was being tossed about, as people got into the groove to the accompaniment of pulsating music. Volunteers lined the entrance selling dry colors and those entering the premises were quickly smeared with colors by friends and strangers alike.

Organizers and volunteers had taken several measures to create parking space and provide shuttle buses. About 200 people also took part in the traditional Ras Garba.

By mid-afternoon, volunteers from Kannada Koota, Silicon Andhra, India Cultural Association and other associations organized themselves to serve food prepared on site. Volunteers Amarjit Singh and N. Sharma said, “When you have a good time and also get blessings, one can surely expect a big crowd. We have been doing this for several years and with more community support, we will continue to serve more. Sunnyvale Temple board members Anil Sood, Sanjay Agarwal and others were present to ensure a trouble-free day.

Special Thanks, courtsey The Indian Express, WESTCOAST Newsline


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