NEWINGTON - The snowstorm of March 14 wound up pushing the local Hindu celebration of springtime into April.
The Vallabhdham Temple at 26 Church Street had planned its Holi Ki Dhamal festival for Sunday, March 12, but temple leaders decided to postpone it to the first Sunday in April just in case the storm hit early.
“About 70 percent of the celebration is outside,” temple founder Rajeev Desai said.
That includes a large “Holika” bonfire and playing with colors - traditions recognized worldwide. A Holi festival in New York City has been known to draw thousands.
Participants celebrate by smearing each other with paint and throwing colored powder around. It’s all in the spirit of good humor, according to Desai.
“The festival signifies the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring, end of winter, and for many it’s a festive day to meet others, play and laugh, forget and forgive, and repair broken relationships,” he explained.
The ancient religious tradition signifies new life and the energy of the season. Krishna followers dance, party and enjoy each other’s company.
But it’s not all just symbolism. Some claim throwing colors has a benefit for the human body.
“Colors are said to have great impact on our body and our health,” Desai said. “Western physicians believe that for a healthy body, colors too have an important place besides the other vital elements. Deficiency of a particular color in our body causes ailment, which can be cured only after supplementing the body with that particular color.”
Traditional, homemade food cooked by local devotees will be served at Vallabhdham’s celebration.
More than 500 visitors are expected to take part.
Desai hopes non-Hindu members of the community will join in, so he’s opened the celebration to the public.
“I want them to learn about our culture and why we celebrate this festival,” he said. “A lot of people don’t know the significance. The objective of Holi is to unite people of all cultures and walks of life to take part in this colorful event to promote unity.”
Invitations have also gone out to the mayor, town officials and others.
Many legends surround the festival, which followers look to for virtues of truth and goodness.
“This is extremely important in the modern-day society when so many people resort to evil practices for small gains and torture one who is honest,” Desai said.
He’s asking local residents to forget feelings of hardship, turn enemies into friends and come to the most colorful party in town.
Holi Ki Dhamal: The Festival of Colors is set for Sunday, April 2, from 2 to 9 p.m.
Erica Schmitt can be reached at 860-801-5097, or firstname.lastname@example.org.