Monday, 20 February 2017

Holi Around the World



Holi Around the World

Holi knows no bars, Holi knows no boundaries too. Across the world wherever Indians or people of Indian origin are present Holi is celebrated with gusto and bonhomie. People play with colours, light a bonfire called Holika and celebrate the victory of good over evil.
Nobody realizes the importance of celebrating festivals than the Indians settled abroad away from their country and cultural roots. At times they are more eager to celebrate festivals than their Indian counterparts. For celebrating festivals is what binds the people of Indian origin together and also to their roots.
Well, the essence of any festival is to take a break from the daily humdrum of life and make it interesting. The other major intention of celebrating festival is to bring people together and generate a feeling of brotherhood and spread harmony all around.
Just as in India, people settled abroad meet their friends and exchange sweets and greetings. Of course, the revelry is no less when it comes to colours.

Holi in Bangladesh

Bengal region has a multifaceted culture due to the influence of Buddhist, Hindus and Muslim cultures. Though the country is Muslim dominated, Hindus too celebrate their festivals with gaiety.

Indian culture has influenced Bangladesh a lot as the country is nestled in the crook of the Bay of Bengal and is surrounded by India. It shares a border in the south-east with Myanmar and fronts onto the Bay of Bengal. The country is flat and dominated by the braided strands of the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Jamuna delta. Bangladesh's Muslims and Hindus live in relative harmony.

Of course, the pomp and show of Holi as witnessed in India is missing, nevertheless, celebrations do take place. Hindu community gather in temples and exchange greetings with each other and play with colours.

Holi in Mauritius

Just as the many other major Hindu festivals, the large Indian majority, (about 63 per cent) celebrate Holi with a lot of enthusiasm in the island of Mauritius.
It is an official holiday in the country and therefore people get all the time to make merry and drench themselves in the spirit of Holi and of course, colour water.
Hindus, here duly perform the tradition of Holika Dahan or lighting of bonfire on the eve of Holi and celebrate the victory of good over evil. Next day people revel and play with colours and drench everybody with water jets called pichkaris. While in the evening they greet each other with tilak and exchange sweets.
Holi is also marked as a Spring Festival when the nature wears its best clothes and fields and flowers are in full bloom.

Holi in Nepal

Holi is celebrated with great pomp and show in Nepal. Celebrations lasts for a week in which the entire country gets drenched in the coloured water.
All over the streets people can be watched having fun, throwing colours and water-balloons, locally called 'lolas' on each other.
Celebrations are of marked importance at Terai and also where Indian community mainly Marwaris have settled. Families and friends get together and celebrate the occasion with a lot of merry making.

Holi in Pakistan

Hindus residing in Pakistan also celebrate holi, though, of course, in not as grand a fashion as seen in India.
People celebrate the victory of good over evil forces by lighting bonfires called Holika. The tradition comes from the legend of Prahlad and Hiranyakashyap. In fact, people follow the same traditions and rituals as in India due to their roots in India. People clean their houses and prepare special delicacies like gujiyas, papri and dahi badas. They meet up with friends and play with the colours, dance and generally have good time. Hindus usually gather in temples and celebrate the Holi there. Much gaiety can be seen in temples located in cities which have a comparatively greater Hindu population. Such as in Lahore and Sindh region.

Holi in South Africa

Indians wherever they may be, takes immense delight in celebrating the festival of Holi and South Africa is no exception. The vibrant Gujarati's and other Indians settled in South Africa have made it a point to keep the tradition of celebrating Holi alive in the country. They play colours, light bonfires called Holika, sing Holi songs and make merry. The evenings are spent in meeting friends and relatives and exchanging greetings and sweets.

People believe that it is becoming all the more important to keep the ancient customs alive in this conflict ridden society. The festival of Holi is vital in this aspect as it is believed that Holi helps people to get closer. It generates warmth in relationships and even enemies turns friends in the spirit of Holi.
It may be noted that South Africa is located at the southern tip of the continent of Africa. It had the largest immigrant Indian community in the world a decade prior to the colonization by the United States of America. Indians account of almost one million in the country. Most of them are concentrated in the eastern regions of Natal and Transvaal of the country. About 65% are Hindus, 15% Muslims and 20% of Christians live in this area. Due to the majority of the Hindu population, a number of Hindu festivals are celebrated here. Most of the Hindus here are from Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu and continue to follow their regional variations of Hinduism.

Holi in United Kingdom

Hindus settled in UK do not miss out the excitement of Holi celebrations and enjoy to the hilt. Zeal for the festival is particularly marked in this country as Indians constitute the second largest ethnic minority. Celebrating festivals help them to feel close to their families and cultural roots.
The celebration of Holi is noticeable at places that witness a large congregation of Indians. The British city of Leicester is particularly known for its love for celebrating Indian festivals. Excitement reaches its peak when the occasion is that of celebrating a joyous festival like Holi.
Children love to use their spray cans and colour each other. Holi parades are also carried and in the evening people visit their friends and relatives to exchange greetings and sweets. They hug each other and also apply the tilak as the meet Holi in a traditional manner.

Holi in USA

With a large population of Indians settled in the United States of America, Holi is celebrated with gaiety and lot of fanfare in this country.
Different societies formed by the Indians and religious organisations help people to celebrate this joyous festival and feel close to their cultural roots. Music programmes and Holi Meets are also organised by them to mark the occasion. These meets help the new generation to identify with their cultural root. Children learn to understand the significance of celebrating festivals and know legends asociated with them.
Here Holi parades are taken out. People can be seen having so much fun in these parades as they play with the colour in the midst. There is so much revelry here that it becomes difficult to imagine that New York is not a part of India.
Great enthusiasm for the festival can be specially witnessed in cities where large number of Indians have settled. Holi celebrations are particularly marked in the city of New York.
Bollywood actors also take time out to celebrate Holi with the people of USA doubling the excitement for the festival. Dance performance, fashion shows and music concerts further add to the festive spirit.

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