'It's special': Morrisville celebrates colorful South Asian festival with the community

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Sunday, March 12, 2023
Community in Morrisville celebrates colorful South Asian festival
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"Holi" is a spring festival also known as the festival of colours or the festival of love.

MORRISVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- Brightly colored powders mixed with rain on Sunday made dozens of people smile as they celebrated the holiday known as Holi in Morrisville.

"Food, color and water, and all friends," Ruchika Giri said smiling.

The organizers, using traditional British-inspired spelling, shared these details about the celebration with ABC11:

"Holi" is a spring festival also known as the festival of colours or the festival of love. It is an ancient Hindu religious festival which has become popular with non-Hindus in many parts of South Asia, as well as people of other communities outside Asia.

It is primarily observed in India, Nepal, and other regions of the world with significant populations of Hindus or people of Indian origin. The festival has, in recent times, spread to parts of Europe and North America as a spring celebration of love, frolic, and colors.

Holi celebrations start with a Holika bonfire on the night before Holi where people gather, sing and dance. The next morning is a free-for-all carnival of colors, where participants play, chase and color each other with dry powder and colored water, with some carrying water guns and colored water-filled balloons for their water fight. Anyone and everyone is fair game, friend or stranger, rich or poor, man or woman, children and elders.

The frolic and fight with colors occurs in the open streets, open parks, outside temples and buildings. Groups carry drums and musical instruments go from place to place, sing and dance. People move and visit family, friends and foes. First they play with colors on each other, laugh and chit-chat, then share Holi delicacies, food and drinks. After sobering up, people dress up, visit friends and family.

Holi is celebrated at the approach of vernal equinox, on the Phalguna Purnima (Full Moon). The festival date varies every year, per the Hindu calendar, and typically comes in March, sometimes February in the Gregorian Calendar.

The festival signifies the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring, end of winter, and for many a festive day to meet others, play and laugh, forget and forgive.

It happened on a chilly, rainy day that had no effect on the enthusiasm of participants.

"The weather is not helping, I must say. But still, it's special," said Subha Shish.

"Here was a little bit of snow and frost on the ground. So I reached out to (organizer) Naresh and he said we're still doing it, even in the rain This area is bringing people from all over the world, and we're really lucky to have people like Naresh and the whole group, bringing people together like this!," said Morrisville mayor TJ Cawley.

Morrisville leaders have another opportunity for the community to celebrate Holi planned.

"There's an event next Saturday at Cedar Fork Community Center, where the town is having its Holi celebration starting at noon," Cawley said. "Come to that one."