It’s a festival of love, of light, of colour and of happiness.
This ancient cultural festival hails from India but is travelling across the world, spreading colour and happiness wherever it goes.
The Holi Colour Splash festival is now coming to Tauranga, at the end of February, and hosted by One Love Charity, which also hosts the Tauranga Diwali Festival.
Holi honours a beautiful play between the divine Indian couple Radha and Krishna. This tradition is surviving and thriving today, and people find great joy in the colour chase and the light-hearted mood of brother-sisterhood during the festival.
So get out your white t-shirts, find your inner child and head to Memorial Park for some Indian culture and a big dose of joy.
The Holi Colour Splash Festival will bring with it an afternoon of Eastern and South Asian fusion music, live Bharatanatyam dance, informative and intriguing snippets about the import of Holi, delicious vegetarian East-meets-West food, henna and free Indian face painting and plenty of throwing-colour for sale.
The ancient festival of Holi is now celebrated widely throughout the world and, in recent years, has become a popular ‘clean fun’ event in New Zealand cities.
There are varying traditional stories that tell the origin of Holi – the underlying message of all these is that divine goodness will always overpower evil and that the Supreme Divine will always look out for his/her children. Holi reminds and encourages us to strengthen the virtue of truthful and honest living and being and to disown the unethical, unkind, or evil – starting with ourselves.
Event organisers Dhruva and Bela Reid love facilitating this age-old festival of colour-throwing in the heart of Tauranga and find pleasure in bringing it to the Bay of Plenty for its fourth consecutive year.
This year, they are expecting the event to attract a bigger turn out than previous years.
“We’re happy to see the spirit of these ancient fest’s gaining acceptance and popularity, because the essence of the message is one of goodwill and open-heartedness towards others, which we believe applies to all, regardless of faith or culture,” says Dhruva.
''With the trans-cultural injection of the Holi spirit, we wish to make the festival comers reflect on how peace, honour and fulfilment can come from within each of us, and manifest in our lives,” says Bela.
There are thousands of beautiful paintings depicting Radha and Kṛishṇa playing Holi with their friends.
According to Indian belief, the Supreme Divine, while ultimately one entity, has many forms, pastimes and interactions with angelic beings of a divine realm.
The message is that country, culture, creed and colour should not be an issue in human society; that the symptom of an evolved humanity is that such differences are overlooked and people embrace and welcome each other, live, love and laugh together.
It’s a beautiful message and one that our world as a whole could embrace.
“My family has attended several Holi festivals in India and we feel connected to its culture and spirit,” says Bela.
“While chasing each other down the sandy village lane-ways we remembered the festival's sacredness and the honour of the Divine Creator who – however we may perceive him – bids us to welcome and honour all others. We felt empowered and uplifted by body, mind and soul.”
There will be a large display wall inviting each individual to draw their personal notion of what a happy, integrated world would look like.
A pre-event activity, in collaboration with Education Tauranga and some local schools, will involve students thinking about the Holi message and creating their own personal depictions of it. The students' messages will get displayed on the wall.
Holi Festival will run from 12–4 pm on February 29 at Memorial Park.
The event is free for all to attend thanks to the generosity of sponsors including Tauranga City Council, Welcoming Communities Tauranga, Ethnic Communities Development Fund.
For more information, go to their Facebook page.