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March 15, 2011 > Festival of colors

Festival of colors

By Meenu Gupta
Photos By Courtesy of Shashi Desai (DreamSnaps)

Festival of colors - Holi - unleashes unfettered joy with bright colors. One of the most vibrant Indian festivals, it is the harbinger of spring season. In India, streets come alive with throngs of people splashing bright orange, red and green colors as they meet each other and celebrate friendship and harmony. The Indian community in the U.S. celebrates the festival with traditional fervor. Each year, Holi events in the Tri-City area promise colors, music, dance, food and lots of fun for all ages.

Holi is an ancient festival of India originally known as Holika. One famous legend says there once lived a mighty demon king named Hiranyakashyap who had conquered all three worlds - heaven, earth and hell - and had thus become very proud. He enforced a law that everybody would worship him instead of gods and deities. However, his little son Prahlad refused to accept his commands and continued to worship Lord Vishnu with complete devotion. Infuriated by this defiance, Hiranyakshyap asked his sister, Holika to enter a blazing fire with Prahlad in her lap, as she had the ability to endure fire unscathed. Legend has it that Prahlad was saved by his extreme devotion for the lord while Holika paid a heavy price for her sinister desire. The tradition of burning Holika comes from this legend.

Holi also celebrates the legend of Hindu Goddess Radha and Lord Krishna, which describes the extreme delight Krishna took in applying color on Radha and others. It is said that when Krishna was a young boy, he asked his mother the reason for his dark complexion while Radha was so fair. His mother, Yashoda, playfully suggested that he should smear color on Radha's face and change her complexion to any color he wanted. He liked the idea and since then, the play of colors on Holi became part of the festivities.

Holi celebrations begin with lighting a bonfire on the eve of Holi. On the following day, called Dhuleti, people rub gulal, which is brightly colored powder, on each others' faces and cheer up.

Color fills the atmosphere at Fremont Hindu Temple as people gather to celebrate Holi with cultural programs and dance performances. Every year around 600-800 people - young and old - gather at the Fremont Hindu Temple for this joyous festival.

Enjoy this colorful festival amidst songs, dances and live music with Bay Area Youth Vaishnav Parivar (BAYVP), a Milpitas based non-profit organization. Play Dhuleti outside in the parking lot with colored powder or Holi Garba at Centerville Junior High on Saturday, March 26. Snacks and drinks will be sold during the event. For more information contact Bhavesh Sheth at (408) 489-7361 or write to Religious ceremony and recitals will start at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 19. For more information contact Ambrish Damani at (412) 983-2280 or write to or Mita Vora at Tickets can be bought at the temple or online at

Holi celebration
Saturday, March 19
5 p.m. onwards
Sunday, March 20
12 p.m. onwards
Sunday, March 27
3 p.m. onwards
Shreemaya Krishnadham
25 Corning Ave., Milpitas
(408) 586-0006

Saturday, March 26
8 p.m. onwards
Holi Garba
Centerville Junior High School
37720 Fremont Blvd., Fremont
(408) 586-0006
$7 per person with advance purchase, $10 at gate
Free for kids under 5

Fremont Hindu Temple Holi celebrations
Friday, March 18
7 p.m.
Sunday, March 20
11 a.m.
3676 Delaware Dr., Fremont
(510) 299-9771

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