Cultures combine in explosion of colour

People of all races and religions joined together in a riot of colour to celebrate the Indian festival of Holi at East End Reserve in New Plymouth at the weekend.

Holi represents the victory of good over evil, the beginning of the northern spring and is also known as the festival of colours because participants cover each other with dried coloured powders and water.

The New Plymouth Indian Community organised Saturday's event and its president Ashwani Kumar said the festival was about loosening societal structures and getting along with everybody. About 100 people turned out for the fun.

"At Holi everybody is equal. There is no rich, there is no poor. It is all about coming together as one."

Mr Kumar said this was the first year the community had organised a public event and he was thrilled with the turnout which included many people who had not celebrated Holi before.

New Plymouth teenager Molly Martin, 17, said she had really enjoyed herself.

"I like that everyone's friendly and don't act like strangers. I have seen it in movies and photos and thought it would be cool to join in."

Not even a broken knee cap and the constraints of a mobility scooter could keep New Plymouth woman Erin Lawn away from the excitement of the celebration.

"I was determined to come today because it is something different and educational," she said.

"It is wonderful for the people of New Plymouth to get involved in multicultural events like this."

Indian food served at the event proved popular, but 19-year-old Witt hospitality student Raman Grewal said perhaps next time people should eat at home first so they didn't get so much coloured powder in their food.

"But I think it's good that it is a bigger celebration with more people this year. With more people there's more fun."

The East End Reserve was a great location for the festival because it had lots of open space to accommodate everyone, she said.

Mr Kumar said he was excited at how well the event had gone and hoped to hold a public celebration again next year and aim for an even higher turnout.

"More people, more fun."

Emma James is a Witt journalism student

Taranaki Daily News