‘Our diversity is our greatest asset’ – PNC/R urges respectable Phagwah celebrations
See below full statement by Geeta Chandan-Edmond, MP, General Secretary of the PNCR:
Greetings and Namaste!
Today I have the distinct pleasure on this happy, festive and auspicious occasion of extending Happy Holi Greetings on behalf of the People National Congress Reform to all Guyanese. Specifically, we join with our Hindu brothers and sisters in celebrating this festival of happiness, colours, laughter, and joy.
Holi, the festival of colours, is celebrated each year with zeal and enthusiasm in the Hindu month, Phalgun. Over the years, this spring festival has been embraced by persons of all walks of life, as it ushers in the Hindu New Year. With the overflow of positive energy, people come together in fellowship to celebrate this festival.
The festival known as Holi and Phagwah marks the beginning of spring. It is an opportunity to celebrate new beginnings and new endeavours. We are hopeful that the festival of colours will serve to bring renewed energy and optimism to all Guyanese.
For celebrants, when ‘abeer’ and ‘abrack’ are applied, everything looks the same. Similarly, when we apply the paint of love to the mind, all differences disappear. This helps to foster this sense of oneness and forge unity amongst our people.
As we celebrate life, the opportunity for renewal, we cannot ignore the difficulties brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. Let us remain thankful for life and use this occasion to recommit to love, unity, generosity, compassion and tolerance.
The significance of Phagwah is two-fold. Its secular significance lies in the advent of the season of spring and its real and symbolic implications of revival, rebirth, renewal, restoration and redemption.
There is also a solemn religious significance. It marks the destruction of evil in the embodiment of Holika and the triumph of the forces of good. Additionally, the religious significance of Holi lies in the conquest of good over evil, manifested by the destruction by Prahalada of his demonic father, King Hiranyakashipu.
Guyana’s diverse multi-cultural society and the spirit of tolerance and harmony has been the essence of our Guyanese cultures and civilization. Holi celebrations demonstrate that social cohesion is an achievable goal.
Holi also reminds us about the greatness of faith and hope. Prahlada sat on the lap of Holika, but the fire could not harm him. That was due to the unshakeable faith Prahlada had in God. We must seek inspiration as we chart a way forward to bring Guyanese together.
Guyana is fortunate to be a multi-religious, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural country. Our diversity is our greatest asset. As we join in this celebration, let us do so in a respectable manner.
As the celebrated Indian national, K. Vani wrote many years ago, “… festivals are gatherings for refreshing the spirit and enjoying life.”
We, therefore, urge all Guyanese to use this occasion to refresh their spirit and enjoy life and to participate fully in this colorful festival and enjoy the rich elements of our religious and cultural diversity.
To my fellow Guyanese, have a safe and Happy Holi!