An industrial state was transformed into a sea of colour on Sunday as hundreds of Hindus came together to celebrate the festival of Holi by hurling powdered paint at each other. Between 600 and 700 people took part in the event, held at the Swindon Hindu Temple and Cultural Centre.
Holi, also known as the festival of colours, is celebrated over two days by Hindus worldwide to mark the arrival of spring. The powder represents the colour brought in by the season.
It is also a reference to the legend of Krishna, whose skin was dark blue. He feared his appearance would mean he wouldn’t be accepted by his love Radha and so lightheartedly smeared her face in paint to make her look like him. Hindus now throw powdered paint at each other to mark the love of Krishna and Radha.
Speaking to the Swindon Advertiser Pradeep Bhardwaj, chairman of Swindon Hindu Temple, said: ‘It brings people together in a spirit of tolerance and equality.
‘Everyone has a good time, especially the children, and it’s wonderful to see so many people here.
What is Holi?
The Holi festival in India is one of the world’s most extravagant and colourful celebrations.
It is celebrated over two days from the day of the full moon in the Hindu month of Falguna. The first day is known as Chhoti Holi or Holika Dahan and the second as Rangwali Holi, Dhuleti, Dhulandi or Dhulivandan.
In India the festival is marked with a national public holiday and sees revelers pour on to the streets. Holi has a lot of significance and marks the victory of good over evil and the departure of winter. People celebrate by smearing each other with paint, spending time with loved ones and eating rich sweets.
The festival is ancient and references to it can be found in Fourth Century poetry. The word Holi is derived from the word ‘hola’ which means to offer prayers to the gods for good harvest.