The vivid colors of spring were everywhere on the streets of Richmond Hill, Queens last Saturday, when Caribbean nationals celebrated the festival of Phagwah, to welcome the dawn of spring, a season of joy and love, and signifies good over evil.
Also known as Holi, the festival brought out hundreds of nationals, many who wore white attire expected to be drenched in colored powder known as abir — to display the splendor of spring, celebrated on the Hindu calendar.
The celebrants dabbed red, yellow, pink and blue dye on the faces of each other in a display of joy and friendliness to commemorate the 25th Annual Phagwah Parade organized by the greater New York based Guyanese Hindus.
From the very young, dressed in Indian regalia, embellished with jewels — to grandparents, friends and neighbors, who waved national flags — all enjoyed the festivities that began on Wednesday, March 23, during the Full Moon which is symbolic in the Hindu religion.
The exciting sounds of the Tassa drums, Dee Jays music and revelers along the Liberty Avenue parade route which ended in Smokey Park, brought jubilation to the community, especially because the spectacle, was cancelled last year due to disagreement among organizers.
Banners showcasing revelers from Hindu Mandir, local businesses, the Queens College Alumni Association, and many other groups left a colorful trail behind them at yet another jubilant display of joy, which culminated with a cultural presentation with performances by Indian Chutney singer Terry Gagraj and many others.
Laya, who had a big smile on her face as she watched the floats from the side of the road, said Phagwah celebrates love peace, and happiness.
“I have been coming out for the last 10 years to see the parade because of what it symbolizes — love, peace and happiness,” said the Richmond Hill resident, whose face showed splashes of pink and red abir.