September 26, 2016

Region 2 residents celebrate Phagwah with energy, unity

Phagwah scenes from Essequibo

Phagwah scenes from Essequibo

By Indrawattie Natram

Hindus and other residents throughout Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam) celebrated the festival of colours with much energy and unity as they walked through streets exchanging Holi greetings. The celebration commenced as early as 05:00h with neighbours and mandir members drenching each other with water mixed with Holi ashes and flowers.

Truckloads of persons from various mandirs drove through streets in motorcade fashion drenching each other as they displayed a true sense of unity and togetherness. As the day progressed – the first half had been marked by the use of water, persons were seen decked out in beautiful Indian attire with their faces smeared with coloured powders and glitter in the afternoon.

ess 2Children had the best of the season as they were seen with water guns filled with “abeer” running through the streets targeting the elders.

During the day, housewives were busy in their kitchens preparing sumptuous Indian dishes for the season. Sweetmeats and seven curry were prepared and exchanged with relatives, friends and well-wishers.

Services were held at various mandirs along the coast, where popular chowtals, ulara, jhumar, lej, baiswara, dhamar, rasiya, kabir, jogira were sung.

At Golden Fleece Vishwa Jhotir Mandir, members had a hawan service after which persons played Phagwah. They later went through the streets singing Phagwah songs and beating drums.

Mandirs had earlier observed Holika Dahan or the burning of Holika on Tuesday at various open spaces. It is burnt on Phagwah night, the full moon day of the Hindu month of Phalgun – the last day of the Hindu year based on Vikram Samvat.

A huge bonfire is built to represent King Hiranyakashyap’s sister Holika, who was immune to the effects of fire courtesy of a boon, trying to destroy her nephew, Prahlad, at the behest of her brother. Prince Prahlad had refused to worship his father as God so he was made to sit on his aunt’s lap while she wore a fireproof sari in the midst of a fire. Prahalad, however, escaped unscathed and Holika was reduced to ashes instead.

The day ended with family visiting each other, exchanging sweetmeats, and smearing each other’s faces with coloured powder. The festival of Holi signifies the triumph of good over evil. Hindus will be seen playing Phagwah until March 29 when the sampuran will be conducted. Holi or Phagwah is a unique and colourful festival that was described in Sanskrit literature as “Vasant Utsav” or Spring Festival. It is a time when nature smiles in all her grandeur and the trees and plants blossom forth into vivid colours combining the rich hues of the flowers with the pleasant odours of the fruits.

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