A festival of color
This year’s Holi celebration moved to Exchange Place
by Al Sullivan
Reporter staff writer
May 14, 2017 | 1861 views | 0 0 comments | 42 42 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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While hundreds of people from the Indian American community came out on April 29 to help celebrate the festival of color known as Holi, many who showed up and painted themselves with colored dust weren’t Indian. But like St. Patrick’s Day, on which everybody is Irish, those who attended the festival ate Indian delicacies, listened to Indian music, watched Indian dancers, and became Indian for the day.
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“The jubilance of families across the east coast came alive on the Jersey City waterfront with last week at our Holi Hai Festival of Colors celebration, which I was thrilled to host with the Surati team for our communities.” – Rimli Roy
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Organized by the nonprofit Surati for Performing Arts, the festival is the brain child of Founder and Artistic Director Rimli Roy, who wanted to bring to the communities in the U.S the spirit of Holi, taken from the Indian Festival of Colors.

“The jubilance of families across the east coast came alive on the Jersey City waterfront with last week at our Holi Hai Festival of Colors celebration , which I was thrilled to host with the Surati team for our communities,” Roy said. “Growing up in India, Holi was one of my favorite festivals. I felt the need to celebrate with children and families here the spirit and culture of this joyous festival with color play, culturally-enriching performances, dance, music, theatre, food, drink and happy festivities. It is my pride to be a part of this community and acknowledge how people have embraced the true essence of the celebration of diversity, brotherhood and the performing arts.”

In the past the festival was held in the Hamilton Park area, but last year it was relocated to Exchange Place and drew thousands of participants.

While Holi has religious significance to a number of groups such as the Hindus, the event in Jersey City is designed to highlight culture and celebrate the arrival of spring. People from different ethnic backgrounds participate and perform at this festival and community leaders show their support by attending.

“The artist in me felt blessed as in spite of having to organize this massive festival,” said Roy. “I was able to direct and lead a special dance piece after my heart (and direct another Surati touring company work) at the event.”

Assemblyman Raj Mukherji was on hand to give Ambassador Riva Ganguly Das at Surati Holi Hai an assembly proclamation recognizing her service to the Indian community in the tri-state area.

Al Sullivan may be reached at asullivan@hudsonreporter.com.

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