Houston’s colourful Holi festivals return from COVID shutdowns

Krupa Rathi appears to be like ahead to the Hindu vacation Holi all yr — particularly the half the place folks douse one another with colourful powder.

The act is named “enjoying Holi,” and that’s why the vacation is often known as the “Competition of Colours.” One of many largest celebrations in India, it additionally marks the start of spring and is sometimes called the “Competition of Love.”

Holi celebrates the triumph of fine over evil, in line with Masala Radio, Houston’s Bollywood radio station and host of a Holi gathering later this month.

“It’s a joyful time,” Rathi mentioned. “It’s additionally an occasion that brings the neighborhood collectively. And it’s a enjoyable solution to join again to my faith.”

Throughout the pandemic, nonetheless, the 16-year previous highschool junior needed to put her regular Holi festivities on maintain. As a substitute of gathering with the neighborhood, her household performed Holi of their yard in Sugar Land.

“Within the spring of 2021, COVID was nonetheless a giant concern,” Rathi mentioned. “It was enjoyable, however it’s extra enjoyable with a big group of individuals.”

This yr, nonetheless, Holi is again in a giant means, with a number of celebrations deliberate round Houston.

Holi festivities happen throughout Houston this month.

Texas Holi Fest, Saturday, March 19, 2 p.m.-10 p.m. 8200 Washington Ave. $10-$15 at eventbrite.com search Texas Holi Fest.

Grand Holi – Competition of Colours, Sunday, March 20, 11 a.m. till 4 p.m. 8888 West Bellfort Ave. Three ticketing ranges: $10-$250. jkyog.org/houston-holi

Houston Holi, Saturday, March 26. 11 a.m.-5 p.m.11715 Bellfort Village Drive.$12 and up. Houstonholi.com

“I’m positively excited to play once more this yr,” Rathi mentioned. “It’s simply an uplifting occasion. And everybody wants one thing uplifting proper now.”

The story behind Holi facilities on Prahlad, a devotee of Lord Vishnu and the son of King Hiranyakashipu.

“Prahlad was a worshiper of God, and the king didn’t like this,” Rathi mentioned. “He tried to get his son to cease.”

The king even tried to kill his son, failing in various methods. “Nothing labored,” Rathi mentioned. “So he requested his sister Holika to assist.”

Holika had a particular present from the gods that prevented her from catching on fireplace. She sat within the flames with Prahlad on her lap. The plan backfired, and Prahlad’s devotion ended up saving his life. Holika was engulfed within the fireplace as an alternative.

“Holika died, as a result of she misused her powers,” Rathi mentioned. “It symbolizes the worth of religion and perception. And that’s reminder to everybody.”

Even via trials and his personal father’s wrath, Prahlad discovered a solution to keep true to his values. “That’s actually motivating,” Rathi mentioned.

Riya Shah, 17, realized the identical Holi message from her Sunday college at Vallabh Priti Seva Samaj temple.

She defined that Choti Holi, or Holika Dehan, is widely known the day earlier than Holi with a bonfire to represent Holika’s demise and to have a good time the triumph of fine over evil.

The colourful side of Holi comes from one other story, Rati mentioned. The highschool senior informed of Krishna who was apprehensive about his darker pores and skin colour, whereas his buddy Radha was truthful.

Krishna ended up enjoying with colourful powders, till each he and Radha had been coated.

“Coloration exhibits their love for one another — and the equality they’ve,” Riya mentioned.

At Sunday college, she and her sister Gauri, 13, play Holi in a discipline with the opposite college students.

“It’s actually enjoyable,” Riya mentioned.

Gauri remembers her disappointment when the occasion was canceled originally of the pandemic.

“Final yr, it began once more, however not many individuals had been there,” she mentioned. “We’re actually excited for it to be massive once more.”

Because the vacation follows a lunar calendar, Holi falls on Friday, March 18.

Listed below are just a few alternatives to affix within the enjoyable at Holi festivals in Houston:

Holi within the Heights

Railway Heights Market, 8200 Washington Ave, is internet hosting its inaugural Texas Holi Fest from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, March 19.

The occasion is designed as a cultural celebration, in addition to an evening of enjoyable, mentioned spokeswoman Christina Truong.

“It provides us a cause to have a good time once more, particularly after the pandemic,” she mentioned. “It’s been so darkish these final two years. We thought this might convey colour again once more.”

The Railway Heights celebration will embrace dancing, reside music and an assortment of Indo-Pak delicacies.

“That is actually a celebration of sunshine and of renewal,” Truong mentioned. “It’s family-friendly, and it’s all about supporting native.”

With the struggle in Ukraine, Truong mentioned the necessity to study totally different cultures is foremost in her ideas today.

“We discover it much more crucial to deal with the significance of life and humanity,” she mentioned. “Town of Houston is nice at embracing that message.”

Tickets, $10 on-line or $15 on the door, can be found on Eventbrite.

Merriment for a worthy trigger

Grand Holi — Competition of Colours is scheduled from 11 a.m. till 4 p.m. Sunday, March 20 at India Home, 8888 West Bellfort Ave.

The occasion is hosted by Jagadguru Kripaluji Yog, “JKYog,” a nonprofit established to advertise therapeutic for bodily, psychological and non secular well-being. The group follows guru Swami Mukundananda.

Lata Srivatsan, coordinator of the JKYog Houston Heart, mentioned that whereas Holi is widely known by the group’s headquarters in Dallas, this would be the first time for the Houston occasion.

“Their Holi is large,” Srivatsan mentioned of the Dallas gathering. “Normally, 10,000 folks come.”

The Houston Holi occasion was designed as a fundraiser for JKYog’s development of a hospital and college within the Indian state of Odisha.

Normal admission is $10. There are additionally deluxe tickets for $50 and premium for $250.

“Individuals can have plenty of enjoyable, and it’s all going to a noble trigger. They’re serving to others,” Srivatsan mentioned.

Bollywood celebrities Harry Anand and Shalmali Kholgade from the Dallas Holi occasion will make their subsequent cease in Houston.

“It’s going to be in the identical grand type,” Srivatsan mentioned. “Though it will likely be our first time, there might be no compromise in any means. The manufacturing would be the similar.”

Along with the reside live performance, there can even be colour play with natural powders, dance and vegetarian meals, in addition to various distributors.

Tickets can be found at JKYog.org/Houston-holi.

A colour rave

Masala Radio returns for its thirteenth Houston Holi at 11 a.m. to five p.m. on Saturday, March 26 at Shri Vallabh Priti Seva Samaj (VPSS) temple, 11715 Bellfort Village Drive.

Sandhya Thakkar, CEO of Bollywood station Masala Radio, has organized Holi occasions in Houston since 2008. Her purpose is to supply memorable celebrations.

Whereas her occasion has modified venues through the years, it has grown steadily. Crowds normally vary from 15,000 to 17,000.

The occasion will embrace reside music by Jay Sean, Bollywood DJs, 60 cubicles to peruse, road meals, 400 native performers, free rides and a ceremonial bonfire.

And, in fact, there might be colour play.

Gujarati Samaj of Houston Inc., a nonprofit that organizes actions to have a good time Indian heritage, will present natural colour powder.

Tickets begin at $12 and can be found at Houstonholi.com

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