You know Holi, our very own Festival of Colours, has indeed gone international when Cold Play comes to India to celebrate Holi. In their music video, Hymn for the Weekend, the band can be seen performing in Mumbai during the colourful festival of Holi. One of the most fun and joyful celebration, Holi is celebrated all over the world these days.
Also read: The Best Place to Celebrate Holi in India
The festival of Holi celebrates the beginning of spring and the victory of good over evil. The essence of this festival transcends all boundaries and generates a feeling of brotherhood. For the people living away from their country festivals like Holi become occasions to stay connected to their roots and a chance to celebrate with their friends. Let us look at some of the countries where people celebrate Holi with great zeal and enthusiasm.
With a large population of Indians settled in the USA, Holi is celebrated in grand style in the US. Various Indian societies and religious organisations organise programmes to celebrate the festival.
In the city of New York, Holi parades are taken out to mark the event. People can be seen playing with colours at these marches. The ISKON temple in Utah organises grand celebrations during this festival every year.
For the Indian community in Moscow, Holi is an occasion to socialise. The get together usually involves music and dance programmes and cultural workshops.
An event inspired by Holi, known as Colourfest, has gained popularity over the last few years in Russia. This festival was organised for the first time in Moscow in May 2013. Over the years it has gained popularity and is held in several Russian cities. Here the festival has no religious context, but the people celebrate it in the same manner. They smear each other with colour and wish each other prosperity and happiness.
Indians are the second largest ethnic minority in the UK. Holi is celebrated with great enthusiasm in areas that have sizeable Indian population.
In London, Different organisations like The Rajasthani Foundation organise various events and Holi parties. Reading, Scotland, and Manchester are some of the other locations for Holi events in the UK. In Manchester, the local Indian Association’s Holi event includes traditional music, Indian street food stalls, and entertainment.
The Indian community and their Australian friends celebrate Holi in grand style every year. Holi Mahotsav, which is organised by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, in Sydney includes performances by Indian artists, food and craft stalls.
Holi is celebrated in many different cities in Australia where the Indian community is settled.
Sabadell, a small town in Spain has been celebrating Holi for the last few years. Centre Asana, the Catalan Association of Bollywood in Sabadell is the organisation behind this festival.
Though the town does not have a significant Indian population, Indians from other nearby cities like Barcelona come here to celebrate Holi. Dance, Bollywood music and colours, the celebrations here have it all.
6. South Africa
Holi is a famous festival for the Indians settled in South Africa. The Indian community in South Africa is almost one million strong, with nearly 65 % of them being Hindus.
The community celebrates Holi with all rituals, including Holika Dahan and playing with colours.
7. Trinidad and Tobago
Holi is celebrated with great fervour in island states of Trinidad and Tobago. In 1845, Hindus from Bihar came here as contractual labourers in Sugarcane fields and since then this festival, which is known as Phagwah here, has been celebrated.
People celebrate Holi by splashing colours on each other and exchanging sweets. A folk song called Chowtal is sung here during Holi. Dholak and Majeera are the only instruments used.
In Nepal, Holi is celebrated as a National festival. The festivities continue over two days. On the evening of the first day, a big bonfire is burnt. Religious ceremonies and rituals are done during Holika Dahan.
The next day the Rangwali Holi is celebrated where people throw colours and splash coloured water on each other.
Holi is known as Phagwah in Guyana. The festival was introduced to Guyana by the Indian immigrants who come to the country almost 180 years ago. The celebrations here start on the day of Basant Panchami when a castor oil tree is planted. From Basant Panchami to the day of Holika Dahan songs of Chowtaal, Dhamaar and jati are sung in Hindu temples. Holika Dahan takes place on the full moon day of Phalgun. On Phagwah morning a member of the mandir collects ash and spreads it on the forehead of the other members of the mandir. Later in the day people dress up in white and spread colours on each other.
Suriname also has some Hindu migrants. Holi celebrations here are similar to those in Guyana.
In Mauritius, Holi is celebrated by people of all religions. People enjoy the festival by playing with dry and wet colours. The Pichkaris (water guns) used by the people here are made up of Mauritian bamboo stalks.
Another highlight of the festival here is singing by crowds accompanied by Jhal and Dholak.