Colors of Holi Brighten Up Jakarta
Jakarta. Indonesia’s Indian community welcomed the beginning of spring by celebrating Phoolon Ki Holi, an ancient Hindu festival marking the change of seasons with bright bursts of colors.
Speaking at an event to commemorate the auspicious occasion, Indian Ambassador Gurjit Singh called celebrating the Holi festival in the archipelago a rare and unique experience.
“It feels very nice to celebrate Holi in this country. It is unique because Indonesia itself doesn’t celebrate it. But I think Holi is similar with Eid Mubarak,” Singh said on Wednesday, referring to the holy Muslim holiday of Idul Fitri that marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
“As part of our celebration, we have a performance from India. It is a folk dance group from Mathura, a city in the central part of India,” Singh said.
Wednesday’s festivities were held at the ambassador’s residence in Menteng, Central Jakarta, which kicked off with a performance by dancers from the Charkula Art Academy. The Mayur dance from the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh is perhaps better known as the peacock dance and was inspired by the Hindu love epic of Radha and Krishna.
“Holi is a great celebration for the people of India. From the [Mayur] dance, you can see that it’s all about romance, colors and happiness,” Singh said.
In addition to Jakarta, the dance group will also perform in Bali, Singh said.
Holi is widely known as the Festival of Love or Festival of Colors and has grown popular outside of the Hindu community across the globe.
The celebration falls on Phalgun Purnima, the 12th lunar month of the Hindu calender, which usually lands at the end of February or the beginning of March.
This year, the vibrant festival fell on March 6, on which day worshipers across India gleefully throw colorful powder on each other. The festival is also a day for people to set aside social restrictions separating age, gender and caste.
Wednesday’s event in Menteng was part of “Sahabat India: Festival of India in Indonesia 2015,” a series of celebrations staged by the Indian Embassy from January through June.
“India holds Indonesia in immense esteem, and today when we launch Sahabat India, it is a humble tribute from India to its steadfast friend, Indonesia,” Singh said, adding that the festival would be held in 16 cities across the archipelago.
“This is the most ambitious and deepest use of our cultural influences, which we are trying to revive in Indonesia.”
Sahabat India is part of a broader effort to forge greater unity between the two nations by promoting youth, culture and people-to-people cooperation, Singh explained.
Other events to be held over the next few months include performances of Indian folk dances, Bollywood film screenings and food tasting.
The embassy also launched three major exhibitions — “Rise of Digital India,” “Life on the Silver Screen: The Story of Indian Cinema,” and “Indian Handicrafts and Handlooms” — at the Lotte Shopping Avenue mall in Kuningan, South Jakarta, in its effort to highlight India’s rapid advancements in science and technology, art and culture.
The simultaneous launch of the exhibits is meant as an effort by the embassy to reach out to the people of Indonesia and to inspire the younger generation, the embassy says.
The exhibits, consisting of visual panels, interactive audio-visuals, and kiosks showcasing India’s achievements in the fields of science and technology, IT, space, atomic energy, agriculture, power generation and economic progress, will be on display for three weeks.
To showcase India’s contribution to cinema, which has become an integral part of Indian life and expression and a major point of reference for Indian culture around the world, the embassy has organized the cinema exhibition for three weeks.
Source: The Jakarta Globe