Saturday, March 30, 2013

Holi Moly - What a Parade!

Thousands of people line the streets and sidewalks in this area of Queens, with small bags of brightly-colored powders and bottles of baby powder in hand.  As I step from the bus and on to the pavement, a small girl dusted in pink points to me and whispers to her mother, "Can I paint her momma, can I?"  How can I possibly resist?

Today is Phagwah, or Holi, the Indo-Caribbean Hindu celebration of the new year. Each spring, after the first full moon of the Hindu calendar, people celebrate in the streets, coloring each other with dyes and powders. I come prepared, wearing old clothes that I don't mind getting stained, as I've read that I can expect to be dowsed, sprayed and sprinkled with a rainbow of colors. And so I am.  And so is everyone else.

The carnival-like atmosphere is joyous: drums beat steadily, loud music crackles from the floats as they shuffle by, and spectators dance and sway, lost in the pounding rhythm.    Here, on the confetti-strewn streets of this area in Queens, New York, we are all one.  We are the pink and the purple, the red and the blue, the green and the yellow... all gathered together to welcome spring.

And welcome her we do.
























My Easter Saturday - The Phagwah Parade

Happy Easter weekend. This morning, I'm making the long trek from Brooklyn to Queens for the Phagwah Parade.

Phagwah, or Holi, is the Indo-Caribbean Hindu celebration of the new year. Each spring, after the first full moon of the Hindu calendar, people celebrate in the streets, coloring each other with dyes and powders.  Indo-Caribbean immigrants from Guyana and Trinidad brought the Phagwah celebration to Queens, starting the parade in 1990.  With a Carnival-like atmosphere of dancing and splendid colors, floats and music, Phagwah bids farewell to winter and welcomes spring with open arms.

Here's a link to more information and photos from previous years:  http://queens.about.com/od/holidays/p/phagwah.htm
 
It's a gloriously sunny morning and with temperatures to soar to the high 50's, it's a fantastic day for a parade! I'm off, with sunscreen and camera in hand...



Thursday, March 28, 2013

Buen Camino: A Pilgrim's Journey




Tonight, I presented my community slideshow about my 500 mile walk across Spain on the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage trail.  Thanks to the folks at REI SoHo for hosting me, and to the room full of pilgrims who attended and who so enthusiastically asked such great questions.

For those New Yorkers who are interested in the Camino or in planning their own pilgrimage, a NYC Pilgrims on the Camino meetup group has just been formed. 

The first open meeting, a kick off meet and greet, is this Saturday, April 6th at 5pm at Terroir in Manhattan - 24 Harrison Street.  The next meeting, a more intimate one where Camino stories will be shared, is on Thursday, April 18th at 5:15pm at 2 Beans in Manhattan - 100 Park Avenue.  This one is limited to 15 people and as of right now, there are nine spots left.

For more information on this meetup group, to connect with the coordinator Nina, or to register for the April 18th event, visit:
http://www.meetup.com/NYC-Pilgrims-of-the-Camino-de-Santiago/ 

If there's enough interest from this group, I'll be presenting my slideshow again at a day and location to be determined.  If you missed my slideshow and are interested in seeing it but can't make it to the April 6th event, reply to this post and I'll let you know if and when another presentation is planned.