“As Guyanese we should strive to understand this festival (Phagwah) better and share in the joys of love, the triumph of good over evil, without injuring anyone; just loving and caring for each other…This is a festival that has been celebrated for over 178 years and I am very happy to see that it is being continued and extended to other sections of the country. People, regardless of race, are celebrating. My message is to have fun, celebrate this festival and have respect for each other.”
Those were the words of President David Granger as he called on the nation to practice the camaraderie and unity displayed during the Phagwah festival every day.
He was yesterday (March 23) participating in the annual celebrations hosted by the Indian High commission in Guyana, on the lawns of the Indian Cultural Centre, Bel Air, Georgetown.
While Holi or Phagwah, as it is commonly known has its origins in the Hindu religion, President Granger said it has become a Guyanese celebration which persons from every religion and race enjoy. To this end, he urged that this togetherness be extended beyond the day of celebration and becomes a way of life in Guyana.
Meantime, speaking on behalf of the Opposition Leader, former Attorney General, Anil Nandlall said every Guyanese should live by the message of Phagwah.
“It is not just a Hindu festival, it is a national festival. I ask that we reflect on the significance and message of Phagwah. It is the festival of love, hard work and good over evil. It is our duty to ensure that there are lots more of Prahlads. If we are able to capture Prahlad’s life and accomplishment then I believe we will be on a good path and take our country forward,” Mr. Nandlall said.
Indian High Commissioner to Guyana, Mr. Venkatachalam Mahalingam, in his remarks noted that this is not only the festival of colours, but one of love, unity and togetherness and marks the beginning of spring which signifies good harvest and agricultural yields.
In Hinduism, Holi is an annual festival celebrated on the day after the full moon in the Hindu month of Phalguna (early March). It celebrates spring, commemorates various events in Hindu mythology and is a time of disregarding social norms and indulging in general merrymaking.
The central ritual of Holi is the throwing and applying of colored water and powders on friends and family, which gives the holiday its common name “Festival of Colors.” This ritual is said to be based on the story of Krishna and Radha as well as on Krishna’s playful splashing of the maids with water, but most of all it celebrates the coming of spring with all its beautiful colors and vibrant life.