Monday, March 13, 2017

Hindus in Pakistan celebrate ‘Holi’, the festival of colors



Hindus across Pakistan began celebrating 'Holi', the Hindu festival of colours, on March 12. Holi, which is celebrated with the onset of spring, and brings together people as they play with colours, distribute sweets and dance together. In Pakistan's port city of Karachi, around 400 local Hindus gathered in the Swami Narayan Mandir, one of the city's Hindu temples, to playfully splash colors on one another in a joyous welcome of spring.

"The Holi festival is basically the biggest festival of the Hindu community. During this festival people visits each other's houses, distribute sweets, and greet their friends. In the evening, people get together in one place to worship and daub colours on one another. The purpose of sprinkling colours is to paint the entire society in one colour so that the differences in the society can be brought to an end," said a Hindu doctor Pardeep Kumar. Security was exceptionally tight around all Hindu temples across the country, and worshippers had to undergo a thorough search before they entered venues of the festival.

"There was very good security here. We came here without any fear. Security was really great . We are very grateful to Pakistan for making such superb arrangements for us," said Hindu housewife Neelam Baswani. Holi, perhaps the least religious of Hindu festivals, is widely recognized for the throwing and applying of colored water and powders on friends and family, which gives the holiday its common name "Festival of Colors."

This ritual is said to be based on the story of Lord Krishna's playful splashing of 'gopis' (wives and daughters of cowherds) with water, but most of all it celebrates the coming of spring with all its beautiful colors and vibrant life. Holi is primarily observed in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and countries with large Hindu populations, like Suriname, Malaysia, Guyana, South Africa, United States, Mauritius, and Fiji.

According to a statement from Dr. Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, Patron-in-chief of Pakistan Hindu Council, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will participate in a Holi festival in Karachi on Tuesday (March 14) to promote interfaith harmony across the country.

Dr. Kumar said this will be first ever participation by any Pakistani Prime Minister in the Holi festivities, adding that "the Hindu community is looking forward to welcoming their beloved Prime Minister." Non-Muslims make up only about three percent of the 190 million population of Muslim-majority Pakistan.

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