Holi – Traditional Gala at Chinmaya Mission

The priest, Sri Ganesh Satyanarayana and Acarya Gaurang Nanavaty doing puja, as they light the sacred Holi bonfire.

The priest, Sri Ganesh Satyanarayana and Acarya Gaurang Nanavaty doing puja, as they light the sacred Holi bonfire. Photos: Rajesh Thatte & Nilesh Shah

By Ruchi Verma

HOUSTON: Chinmaya Mission Houston (CMH) celebrated the most colorful of all Hindu festivals, “Holi” on Sunday, March 4, to mark the commencement of spring. Phalguna Poornima of the Hindu calendar is the day of Holi. The day prior is celebrated as Holika Dahan or Chotti Holi, with the lighting of bonfires. Holika, the sister of Hiranyakashipu, schemed with her brother to get rid of her nephew, Prahalad, the role model of all devotees.

Hiranyakashipu was annoyed at his son for incessantly thinking about Vishnu as the Supreme Lord, instead of himself. After repeated attempts to kill him in vain, Holika decides to tie herself to Prahalad and set them on fire. She had a boon from Brahma that fire would not harm her. Yet due to tapascharya of Prahalad and due to the grace of Vishnu, it is Holika who burns to death and Prahalad remains unharmed. Holi, thus marks the victory of good over evil.

Members of the flash dance setting the celebratory mood

Members of the flash dance setting the celebratory mood.

It is also believed Holi has its roots with Sri Krishna’s pastimes with Gopis of Brindavan, where he applied colors on them and the tradition lives on. Some associate the killing of Pootana by Krishna as the beginning of Holi.

The theme of all the legends revolve on victory of good and the commencement of great times, coinciding with spring and colorful flowers. CMH participants in the hundreds echoed the same zeal and spirit to make the festivities and the mood very colorful. The threat of possible rain did not dampen the enthusiasm of the volunteers who had made elaborate arrangements. The courtyard was festooned with colorful pennants all around the central holi fire. Gulal of many hues and other colors were provided to all the participants.

Kids participating in various games and fun activities

Kids participating in various games and fun activities

As the weather cooperated to make it an awesome day, the celebrations and the fun competed to make it more memorable, the one punctuated with lots of singing and dancing besides the colors.

Post noon, Acharya Pujya Gaurang Uncle lit the Holi fire and commenced the Holi Puja and celebrations. This was followed by a delicious, sumptuous lunch, cooked by the kitchen volunteers who had been at this seva, since morning. The lunch morphed into a picnic, with people enjoying it on the soft grass. The paan stall setup for the event, took the joy of lunch to a different level.

Hundreds playing with Holi colors spreading joy and cheer

Hundreds playing with Holi colors spreading joy and cheer

The mood was instilled by flash mob dancing to melodious tunes. Kids could not curb their glee with many games to participate from lemon-spoon to water balloon tossing. The excitement was infectious as adults took part in a “tug of war”. This was followed by the traditional coloring of each other in the real spirit of Holi.

Tradition steeped in wisdom, diffused with fun is the norm at Chinmaya Mission Houston, located at Chinmaya Prabha, 10353, Synott Road, Sugar Land, TX-77498.

For more information, visit www.chinmayahouston.org or call Jay Deshmukh 832 541 0059.

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