Holi – the Hindu Festival of Colours – will be celebrated in Rotorua on Sunday, 20 March.

Holi is a festival of fun accompanied by folk songs and dances. People celebrate it by covering each other with coloured powder, and drenching with coloured water.

Annual celebration of this colourful festival bridges social and personal differences, bringing people and communities together.

In New Zealand, March 21 is celebrated as the Race Relations Day to commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

“Celebrating Holi with different colours and bringing various community groups (especially the youth) together is symbolic of this important international day,” said Praneita Narayan, the co-ordinator of Rotorua Holi Festival 2011.

“Currently, we have youths from the Maori and Hindu community in the organising committee. We invite and welcome youths from other community groups to join us to celebrate this festival with a true community spirit,” she added.

The Hindu Council of New Zealand introduced this Hindu festival to the Rotorua community last year.

“The support, participation and positive feedback from last year’s Holi celebrations encouraged us to continue with this festival in Rotorua” said Dr Guna Magesan, General Secretary of Hindu Council of New Zealand.

One of the key objectives is to encourage youth to not only participate but also learn to organise events to develop and nourish a community spirit. This year’s Holi festival will be run by youths – mainly teenagers from various communities.

The official festival will start at 11.00 am. Food and other stalls will open for the public, where Indian and other ethnic vegetarian food will be available. A number of cultural performances will also take place. From 2.30 to 3.00 pm, people will get an opportunity to indulge in customary revelry with coloured powder and water.

A day before the festival, Hindu Council of New Zealand will be organising a workshop on Mehndi Moko, which is open to public. An opportunity to learn, understand and experience Maori culture and customs will be provided.

This festival is a smoke-free, alcohol-free and meat-free festival with free entry to the public. Your family and friends are invited to the Rotorua Festival of Colours on Sunday, 20 March 2011.
For more information: Please email rotorua.holi@gmail.com