Holi: Celebrating life, love, and colour

Holi is an annual celebration and Hindu religious festival that originates in India. It traditionally occurs at the end of Northern Hemisphere winter, at the full moon in March. It is a celebration of the triumph of good over evil, a day to forgive, look ahead and come together as a community.

In Christchurch those wanting to take part in the Holi festival can attend the celebration at The Commons on 5 March. This is a chance for people to gather together, eat good food, dance and enjoy each others company.

One of the most striking Holi traditions involves throwing and smearing coloured powders on each other. This stems from the story of Krishna, who had blue skin, and the fair-skinned Radha. In the story, Krishna, on the advice of his mother, colours Radha’s face. In Hindu tradition Radha is Krishna’s supreme beloved. Colours also symbolise people becoming equals, whether they are old or young, friends or enemies, rich or poor.

The traditional game of matki phod will also be played, in which small teams compete to make human pyramids in order to reach a container of yoghurt. This is also based on stories of Krishna’s youthful exploits.

Holi festival 2016

Christchurch Holi Festival 2016

Where and when: The Commons, 70 Kilmore St, 11am – 3pm

Price: $10, free for children under 10 years (coloured powders are included in the ticket price. More will be available to purchase if you go wild with them and run out)

Tip: Wear old clothes (and shoes) that you don’t mind getting stained by colours.

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Light your October with Diwali

Diwali 2014 posterDiwali is an ancient Indian festival of lights. It is usually celebrated in the autumn season in India.The literal translation of Diwali (also often spelled Divali or Dipavali) is an array of lights.

On Diwali night people light up candles and lamps and decorate their houses. The festive mood brings happiness and harmony among people as they exchange presents and sweets among friends and family members. The celebration generally concludes with a spectacular displays of fireworks.

Diwali was always the festival that I eagerly looked forward to every year when I was a child. Children in India thoroughly enjoy the festivities. As well as helping to decorate the house, lighting lamps and (especially for boys) lighting fireworks, they receive lots of sweets and new dresses and get plenty of time to play along with visiting family friends and relatives.

Christchurch will be celebrating Diwali on Saturday, the 25th of October 2014 at the Horncastle Arena. The festivities include various cultural performances, food and craft stalls, workshops, and exhibitions. Now regularly held every year, the Diwali festival has become one of the most popular events in October attracting huge crowds. Make sure you don’t miss out on the fun!

Photo of Diwali display at Hornby Library Photo of performers at Diwali Festival 2013

Hornby Library