As Guyanese at home and abroad, especially the Hindu community, prepare to celebrate the joyous festival of Holi or Phagwah, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) takes this opportunity to extend greetings to all on this occasion.
Holi is a festival that has truly become national and one that is most anticipated having transcended religious boundaries. This is manifested through the participation of a wide cross section of Guyanese throughout the country.
The fun and frolic that have come to be associated with it remain a catalyst for the forging harmony among all of our people.
The kaleidoscope of colours that exemplify the celebrations, heralds the dawn of spring, reminding not only of nature’s beauty but the vibrancy of our rich diversity.
Our Party urges all Guyanese to heed the pertinent message of this festival – that of the triumph of good over evil. The story of Prahalad reinforces that hope must always remain alive for in the end, evil will ultimately be defeated.
Shubh Holi to all!
The People’s National Congress Reform extends sincere Holi greetings to the Hindu Community of Guyana in particular, and Guyanese in general, on the celebration of the Festival of Phagwah.
All Guyanese embrace Phagwah or Holi. The festival signifies the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring, the end of winter and for many, a festive day to meet others, play and laugh, forgive and forget and repair broken relationships.
The significance of Phagwah is two-fold. Its secular significance lies in the advent of the season of spring, and its real and allegorical implications of fertility, rebirth, renewal and regeneration. The religious significance of Holi lies in the conquest of good over evil, manifested by the destruction by Prahalada of his demonic father, King Hiranyakashipu.
As the celebrated Indian national, KulapatiVani wrote many years ago, “… festivals are gatherings for refreshing the spirit and enjoying life,” we urge all Guyanese to use this occasion to refresh their spirit and enjoy life and to participate fully in this colourful festival and enjoy the rich elements of our religious and cultural diversity.
Holi or Phagwah is celebrated at the end of the Hindu calendar year in the dark half of the Hindu month of Phalgun. Phagwah is derived from the word Phalgun. Phagwah heralds the Hindu New Year which is celebrated fifteen days after the festival on the first day of the bright half of the Hindu month of CHAIT.
Also called Holi, the word comes from the Sanskrit word “Hola” which means grain. The festival coincides with the harvest of the spring crop and is considered a Spring or Vasant festival. Holi commemorates the regeneration of nature from her slumber. An air of joy pervades the home and the family expresses affection by greeting each other in a dignified manner. Children touch the feet of their parents, spray them with perfume and place ABRAK and powder on their faces. Parents bless their children and wish them not only HOLI KE SHUBH KAAMNAYEA but a bright and prosperous future. Greetings are extended to relatives and friends by squirting them playfully with abeer and placing abrak/gulal on their faces. The colours of the abrak and abeer reflect the vivid hues of spring as at this time nature blooms in abundance.
Holi is all embracing and possesses an unparalleled social dimension which is conducive to reunion, exchanges and togetherness occurring in an atmosphere of absolute cordiality. The festival is proletarian in outlook with elements which spontaneously fashion an atmosphere of total equality and people from all walks of life and social strata are literally engulfed in merriment, joy and happiness. Holi transcends all barriers. There is complete unity. The RANG or colours which smear us and make us virtually unidentifiable emphasizes the oneness of humanity or the famous Hindu concept VASUDHAIVA KUTUMBAKAM – Humanity is one family.
With the passage of time, the legend of Prince Prahalad and his despot father King HIRANYAKASHYAP became associated with the festival. In this story, the event where the King sought to have his saintly son consumed by fire is recaptured. The King’s sister Holika had a boon which made her immune to the effects of fire. Prahalad was placed on her lap in a pyre in an attempt by his father to have him killed. Instead, the cruel aunt Holika was consumed and the saintly Prince Prahalad escaped unscathed.
In Guyana and the Caribbean; much like UTTAR PRADESH, INDIA, a pyre is built and burnt reminiscent of this event on the eve of Holi- Holika Dahan. On Holi morning the ash is collected and placed on foreheads symbolic of the triumph of good over evil.
Hol is a time for reflection and analysis. Consequently the merriment and joy which Holi brings should not make us oblivious of the true significance of the festival. Holi does not license anyone to recklessly and wantonly drench passers-by or to barge into people’s homes and splash water on the occupants. Holi should never be associated in any way with events not in consonance with its spiritual dimension; no alcohol, vulgar and lewd music, barbeques and similar activities should be associated with Holi or Phagwah. These acts are against the spirit of our lovely Holi festival and should not form part of the Phagwah celebration. Every effort made to divest this unique festival of practices alien to Phagwah.
On behalf of the Dharmic family of the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha, I take this opportunity to extend Holi greetings to all my brothers and sisters – all of Guyana and wish you the infinite blessings of Bhagwan Krishna. Shubh Holi!
HOLI KA SHUBH KAAMNAYEA!
The Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) joins with the Hindu community and indeed all other Guyanese in celebrating this year’s Festival of Holi.
Though it has its roots in the Hindu community, this Festival is generally recognized as an integral part of our Guyanese social and cultural history and Holi has evolved into a truly national celebration. Holi, popularly known as Phagwah, is now embraced by numerous sections of the population and is yet another expression of our diversity. GAWU sees the togetherness in joyous colourful celebration on this occasion as an example of the need to forge common efforts to bring about and ensure the well-being, peace of mind and steady enhancement of the prosperity of our people. The spirit of unity that is so well manifested on this occasion is testimony to the good prospects we have to strengthen our nation and overcome divisiveness.
GAWU realizes that the messages of unity, goodwill and optimism exchanged during such Festivals as Christmas, Mashramani, Eid and Phagwah are positive contributions to instill hope and productive relationships between our people and build strong foundations for our future generations. In this regard, we feel that discriminating practices, whatever their form and a callous attitude to sections of the population will not serve to promote a national environment of trust, confidence and genuine togetherness so vital to peace and a healthy economy.
It is appropriate to recall the narrative linked to Phagwah which speaks of the defeat of intrigues and the triumph of a just cause. Thus, we are optimistic that our economic hardship that the trauma stemming from crime and growing want of retrenchment will be overcome soon and completely.
May the understanding associated by Festivals like Holi lead to a united and better country where our people of different faiths will take pride in our progress and developments knowing that a secured future is being built for all.
Happy Holi 2018 from GAWU!