Bura Na Mano Covid Hai
Rakhi Malhotra | On 05, Mar 2021
The Hindu Festival of Colours, otherwise known as ‘Holi’, dates back to the fourth century and marks the beginning of spring after the long winter. Many see it as symbolic of the triumph of good over evil. Marked with great excitement, it is widely celebrated in March, which is parallel to the Hindu calendar month of Phalguna.
Holi 2021 across India
Typically, in India, in non-covid times, Holi sees streets come alive in vibrant colours of yellow, red, and green as celebrants throw coloured powder high into the air and splash others with water and powder. Hindus believe that the colours represent cultural beliefs; green represents a fresh beginning while red symbolises fertility and love. The day ends with traditional family gatherings celebrating with a meal.
However, Covid’s reign of misery has quashed the Holi celebrations into a muted affair across much of Northern India. Many were cancelled in places like New Delhi. This contrasts with the usual bustle enjoyed in the city on Holi, last year attracting over 7000 overseas participants. In addition, public gatherings and Holi events were cancelled across Noida and Greater Noida amid Covid unrest in the region. Despite the stand taken in these areas, Uttarakhand took a more relaxed approach by dancing and smearing one another in vibrant colours.
Prime Minister Modi took a stand and refrained from celebrating Holi this year, an unsurprising decision given that India has suffered over 157,000 deaths to date and more than 11 million cases of the coronavirus. With an average of roughly 20,000 cases a day in recent weeks, the pragmatist decided to forego the usual close-contact revelry. This is understandable given the proximity issues in much of densely populated India. However, even those wishing to travel home to the family may have been stranded as trains running on the East Central Division route of Indian Railways were cancelled; a total of 28 special trains running on this route were withdrawn from service on the week of Holi this year. Similar disruptions were felt nationwide.
All that said, many people remained in an upbeat mood despite the subdued and or cancelled celebrations. After Diwali, Holi is the next biggest festival in India. It is a time for family, celebration, and contemplation. Many see the virtues of sacrificing Holi for the greater good, safe in the knowledge that 2022 may bring the biggest Holi yet.
Holi 2021 across Australia
Holi has become popular across Australian territories due to the increased Indian diaspora living here. The Indian Diaspora, a long distance from their motherland, find that Holi is a way of keeping connected to their heritage and culture. Therefore, Holi’s festival of colours lets them indulge, celebrate, and reminisce. In addition, they indoctrinate their children in the ways of their ancestors.
For those in Sydney, Holi events took place in a small number of venues, such as Pyrmont Wharf, King Street Wharf, Zeta Bar, and the Civic Park Pendle Hill. Events continue throughout March, and details can be found on the various events’ website.
If you are in Perth, get yourself down to Langley Park on the 28th of March. There will a Holi celebration starting at 11 am and continuing up until 5 pm. This promises to be a vibrant celebration, with free entry to all. Organisers remind attendees that parking is limited, so use public transport if possible; Bus lines stop near Langley Park: Bus – 103, Bus – 111, Bus – 36, Bus – 930. In addition, trainline Freemantle or Mandurah will also get you there.
For those in Brisbane, Brisbane Holi’ Festival of Colours’ welcomed its fifth year of celebrating Brisbane’s vibrant multicultural communities. Organisers took great pride in their all-inclusive ‘Let’s colour everyone equal’ slogan for the event that was held on the 27th of February at Rocks Riverside Park. While smaller this year, the event proved a success again this year in celebrating the Holi festival for those of Indian and Southern Asian heritage and nationality.
In Melbourne, the Holi Festival Eynesbury is cancelled. It was scheduled for the 28th of March. However, the Birrarung Marr Festival off Federation Square is still planned on the 27th and the 28th of March. It starts at 12:30 in the afternoon and runs up until 21:30, and is free to attend. Registration on Eventbrite is mandatory for attendees.
Several events are organised all over Australia, where people play with vibrant colours. Most of the people on this day dress themselves up in traditional white clothes. It is an opportunity for the people of Australia to deepen their understanding of the Hindu religion, welcome the season of winter and say bye to the heat of summers. If you want to stay safe in these Covid times and do not wish to attend these events, why not gather close family and friends and celebrate Holi yourself. It is made up of two parts:
On the evening before Holi, you and your loved ones can light a bonfire. Even a small one. It can happen in the backyard of your house (safety first). Sing and dance around the fire if you wish, as this is an accepted tradition. Thereby, you meet your close friends and family and celebrate the victory of good over evil. Holika Dahan spreads the message that we can defeat every evil around us with our good inner-self.
Holi of Colours
On the day of Holi comes the playing of colours. Throw non-toxic colours on each other and celebrate the day: dance and sing. Make traditional Holi foods and enjoy them with your family.
We wish all Australians a happy and prosperous holiday. We hope Holi is a time of solemn reflection and a time of great joy and celebrations for you. We know the last year has been challenging, so we all hope that Holi 2022 will be bigger and brighter than ever. Hope to see you then. Happy Holi 2021 meanwhile.