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President Dr. Sunila Shrivastava introducing Mr. Steve Dimopoulos MP

“Festival of Colours -Rang Barse (Dry colours)” on Sunday 27 March 2016 at Princes Highway Reserve, located at 1656 Dandenong Road, Oakleigh, was attended by nearly 5,000 people during 11.00 AM to 6.00 PM. It was culmination of months and months of planning and dedicated efforts of the working group which involved members of Sankat Mochan Samiti Inc. (SMS) and the dedicated staff of Monash Council, which provided the partial funding, venue and strict guidelines to hold such a big Hindu based celebration of Festival of Colours -Rang Barse for the first time in the City of Monash, which has the second largest population of Indian background in the Municipality.

Why Holi is Celebrated:
In India this function is celebrated during the spring season, when the entire nature is full of colours with beautiful natural and wild flowers and the winter crops are nearly ready to be harvested. The beautiful nature and the flourishing harvest on the field deserves a good reason for celebrations which last for two days. On the full moon day of Chaitra (Hindus follow Lunar Calendar, so the dates fall in March or April close to the Easter celebrations as per the Calendar) a bonfire is lit for Holika who was blessed to be unscathed from the fire and her nephew Bhakta Prahallad a devotee of Lord Vishnu. Prahallad’s father was a demon King Hiranyakashyap who was mad with power and proclaimed himself to be God and insisted to be worshipped as one. When he failed to convince his own son to refrain from worshipping Lord Vishnu he decided to burn him alive with Holika with an expectation that it will be Prahallad who will die and Holika will be saved because of the boon. But it was Holika who died and Prahallad came out unscathed and since then Holi is celebrated every year as a gesture of victory of Good over Evil. Holika Dahan was celebrated in the Sankat Mochan Temple on 23 March 2016.

The day following the Holika Dahan signifies the start of Falgun month that is the end of cold and gloomy winter and the start of beautiful spring in India. On this day, also known as Rangwali holi or the Dhulendi (Festival of Colours – Rang Barse) , people play with coloured powder and coloured water. The tradition of playing Holi with Gulal, coloured powder was started by Lord Krishna in Mathura when he smeared the face of his beloved Radha with colours. It has therefore a inviting connotations for the loving couples to use this opportune time for mischievous show of affection and as per the saying, ” Bura na mano Holi hai – (Don’t Mind, It’s Holi)”.

Social Significance:
Everybody participates in the Holi regardless of the social status, cast, creed and gender with passion of zeal. Holi is one of the most vibrant festivals of India and these days it has become an International Festival, known as Festival of Colours. The spirit of Holi is about hope, happiness and peaceful existence. It brings communities, nationalities and different religious, ethnic groups together by assisting in understanding of richness in diversities, necessary to build a harmonious multicultural society.

It is one of those rare festivals where people forget about their differences and inhibitions and come together to have real fun There is another spiritual and cultural significance to Holi. It is the festival to forget and learn from the past mistakes, put an end to the conflicts with others by meeting and greeting them and it is the day to forgive and forget, and on this day people pay or write-off debts. It is the start of the new and fresh day with a clean sheet.

The celebrations at the Princes Highway Reserve on Dandenong Rd., Oakleigh attracted nearly 5000 people during the passage of the day from 11.00 AM in the morning till 6.00 PM. The overcast, day with showers predicted, turned out to be a very pleasant day enjoyed by the people. The long queues at the food stalls for variety of sumptuous food, kiddies rides including the most popular Camel ride and non stop dancing by the spectators to the beats of DJ Ash and DJ Uday, with hundreds of performers on the stage from various Age groups (70 children below the age of 12 participated in the cultural program), representing the dances from different regions of India ( Giddha, Lavani, Rajasthani, Kashmiri and Bollywood dancing by Just Beats and Just Dance) kept the participating crowd going, which did not want to stop even after the show was over. Raj Yadav (Dr RnB) Vinita Bhatia and Meenu Puri Organised the entertainment with Yash Bhatnagar as wonderful Master of Ceremony. A group of young people requested us to organise the similar festival next week (Not next year).

SMS facilitated Ms. Reeta Verma and Ms. Vandana Bhatia for their contributions to the community in legal assistance and advise in family disputes and Media leadership respectively. Hum Tum, Social Welfare group working on Respectful Relationship collected quotes from the people and newly formed Sankat Mochan Senior group (SMSG) was able to sign in many new members for the group.

Efforts of the Executive Committee of SMS – Sunila, Suraj, Satish, Krishen, Yogesh, Amit K, Vinita, Kamini, Santosh, Manju, Amit C, Meenu, Pradeep and our nearly 50 community volunteers are commendable. This function would not have eventuated without the leadership and guidance of Arvind, Yogen and Raj.

The support of City of Monash, Bank of Melbourne, Vodafone, Angad, Victorian Police and Biggin & Scott is very much appreciated.

The start of ,”Festival of Colours -Rang Barse” in the City of Monash has created a new bench mark for the Community Celebrations in general and for Indian Celebrations in particular. The successful efforts of SMS have created a new historical mile stone to a never ending road for the future generations to reminisce and maintain our rich, enjoyable traditions and culture for generations ahead.

Happy Holi

Holi Hai
Sharing some beautiful moments Photographed by Mr. Rajesh Bhatia on Rang Barse Festival ‘2016

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