BayVP Holi (Shashi Desai/www.dreamsnaps.com)
From colorful, scented roses to a variety of bright colors, Silicon Valley was painted with Holi celebrations that ran across days and cities. Siliconeer was present at two events, and presents this photo essay with inputs from Shashi Desai (BayVP), Ritu Maheshwari (FOG) and Vasudha Badri-Paul. Here are some glimpses from the Sankara Eye Foundation Holi in Pleasanton, Calif., March 11; FOG Holi in Newark, Calif., March 12; Dadi Pariwar USA “Phoolon Ki Holi” in Sunnyvale Hindu Temple, Sunnyvale, Calif., March 12; and BayVP Temple Holi in Milpitas, Calif., March 18. – @Siliconeer #Siliconeer #Holi #SiliconValleyCelebratesHoli #FestivalofColors #FOG #SunnyvaleTemple #DadiPariwarUSA #Fremont #Sunnyvale #DesiCulture #SFBayArea #Milpitas #Newark #Pleasanton
Sankara Eye Foundation Holi
The Alameda County Fair Grounds in Pleasanton, Calif., March 11, was filled with colors, not just plants heralding the spring with bright, bountiful colors but people equipped with packs of colored powder, throwing it on participants in the hum of music and laughter. People were celebrating Holi with a cause. The theme here was “Play Holi and Give the Gift of Vision.” The money collected from ticket sales was being donated to a cause, a gift to people with impaired vision by providing free eye clinics for the impoverished in South Asia.
The festival signifies the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring, end of winter, and for many a time to meet others, play, laugh, forgive, and renew relationships. It is also celebrated as a thanksgiving for a bountiful harvest season. It lasts for a night and a day, starting on the evening of the Poornima (Full Moon), the first evening known as Choti Holi and the following day as Holi.
It is common practice, during the days of Holi, everyone is fair game, friend or stranger, rich or poor, man or woman, children and elders. The festivity occurs in streets, parks, outside temples and other buildings. Music and food are interspersed with the colors, with drums and songs, sweets and Thandai (rich Indian milkshake).
At the Alameda Fair Grounds, Sankara had a stage for dance and music and families danced to the familiar upbeat music. There were food stalls with a selection of Indian meals, mango lassi, and gulab jamoon.
Sankara Eye Foundation gives free eye surgeries to children and adults in India who are visually handicapped. It has treated and performed more than 1.2 million Free Eye Care surgeries and every day about 500 eye care surgeries are performed in Sankara Hospitals. The movement was founded by Dr. R.V. Ramani and Dr. Radha Ramani in 1977. Currently there are 13 hospitals all over India.
– Vasudha Badri-Paul/Siliconeer
Festival Of Globe (FOG), in association with Federation of Indo-Americans (FIA) of Northern California and Fremont Hindu Temple, celebrated their Holi festival, March 12, in Newark, Calif.
In keeping with yearly tradition, the admission to the event was free. An ocean of people congregated to celebrate. People enjoyed with great enthusiasm.
In order to reduce pollution, skin irritation and make the festival environment friendly, Holi featured biodegradable and skin-friendly colors. People enjoyed music and DJ all through, even requesting for more after the event’s official closing time.
FOG founder and convener Dr. Romesh Japra said, “FOG Holi has over the years played an important role in keeping our culture alive and inculcating pious values in our youngsters. With new and convenient location, Holi was so much more enjoyable experience for the families and friends. I am so glad to see young children playing Holi and coming to know more about it. When they participate they remember it for the lifetime.”
Many dignitaries and community leaders participated as well. “We are really proud and grateful that Holi festival has come to Newark. After all Newark is city of diversity and we want people from all the ethnicities to join in,” said Newark Mayor Alan Nagisaid.
“Holi is celebration of goodness triumphing over evil, and the festival is a celebration of love, truth, faith and being a good person. This year the spirit of Holi was on display in abundance at Newark Junior High School Park. Children playing with water, applying colors to each other presented a beautiful scene of community celebrating and enjoying together,” said Ritu Maheshwari, FOG’s Media Chair.
Dadi Pariwar’s ‘Phoolon ki Holi’
Continuing the tradition, Dadi Pariwar USA, a Rajasthani heritage group based in Silicon Valley, and the Sunnyvale Hindu Temple celebrated a very special kind of Holi, at the Sunnyvale Temple, March 12.
It was rose petals instead of colors that covered the temple ceiling and everyone beneath. As with the spirit of Holi, mischief is part of the deal. Someone in the audience eventually did start the rounds with colors but for the most part, the event venue was scented and covered with colorful rose petals in a free fall from the sky.
Revelers, young and old, were engulfed by the liveliness, the sweet scent of roses, and then there was Rajasthani folk dance music, and a charged-up performance by Satnam and his troupe of ladies.
The occasional mischievous burst of actual color opened the forum altogether and everyone was suddenly charged up, painting the person next with color, while showering rose petals on them as well.
What Holi is complete without Thandai?
Well, this one had all the makes of a traditional Rajasthani Holi. The guests, all painted, were served with Halwa, Pakoras, sweets, snacks, and of course, the Rajasthani Thandai, a drink full of flavor, milk, nuts and pistachio complete with an abundance of saffron strands!
A rainbow of colors filled the sky as the Bay Area Vaishnav Pariwar held their annual BAYVP Holi celebrations at Shreemaya Krishnadham in Milpitas, Calif., March 18.
This Holi had a Gujarati flavor and was complete with music, colors, fun and Gujarati traditional dance.
Kids enjoyed not being taken to task for messing with colors for once, and they did it all too well here. Why not, after all, look at all the elders, they were even more colored than the kids.