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.

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