Holi Celebrations: Local Culture Connects to Global Community

The divine colours and festivities of Holi filled the air at Parmarth Niketan, Rishikesh (Himalayas). For the special occasion, the Kumaon Cultural Club of Uttarakhand came to Parmarth to celebrate Holi with all of the visitors, yatris and yoga students at Parmarth Niketan, who have come from so many countries from across the world. They filled the air with traditional singing and dancing in which the Indians and the foreigners reveled and played.

With the blessings of H.H. Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, President of Parmarth Niketan, Founder of Ganga Action Parivar and Co-founder of Global Interfaith WASH Alliance, the auspicious occasion brought together and connected the local culture with the global community.

Pujya Swamiji blessed everyone with words of inspiration and upliftment: “It is so beautiful how we have come together — the global connected to the local! All of our brothers and sisters from abroad with our brothers and sisters from these sacred Himalayas. It is this connection of the global with the local that leads to true union (yoga), of the north and the south, the east and the west. inspiring and uplifting each other in times of disaster, like the recent floods, and also in times of celebration. Let this Holi celebration be one in which we play together, pray together and pledge to work together to bring strength and stability back to this rich, traditional and sacred land which is home to people from all walks of life.”

Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, President of Divine Shakti Foundation, explained, “Holi is a celebration of the vanquishing of evil by good and of the dispelling of darkness by light. It is also celebrated and known as the festival of love. But the goodness, the light and the love are not merely external like the powdered colors! Rather they should color the depths of our hearts and minds as well. Let these powders be a symbol of the coloring of our hearts and minds with light, love, peace and joy. Let the divine rang (colour) connect you deeply in your sangh (connection/association) with the Divine.”

Participants danced and sang with the divine music of Holi, they covered each other’s faces and filled the air with auspicious, organic, herbal colours of Holi. Organic sweets of jaggery was also distributed to all. Afterwards, everyone joined together in a sacred water blessing ceremony offering their prayers that the entire world should have access to safe, life-giving and sufficient water, pouring the holy waters of Mother Ganga over a globe, symbolizing the entire world.

In honor of Sadhvi Bhagawatiji’s birthday, Pujya Swamiji blessed her with an elaichi mala, saying that it’s a “green” (eco-friendly) mala for Sadhviji’s tenacious dedication and commitment to environmental preservation for world peace. Just as the elachi is fragrant and promotes health and happiness so to may Sadhviji’s life continue to bring the fragrance and ever-lasting colours of health and happiness to all that she teaches, touches and thereby transforms.

A special havan (sacred fire ceremony) was performed for environmental preservation and world peace followed by divine Ganga Aarti ceremony.

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