CHICAGO, IL – Umiya Mataji Sanstha Chicago Midwest (UMSCM) held Holi festival celebrations March 3, outdoors despite cold temperatures, at its Joliet Street location in West Chicago.
More than 500 devotees as well as friends, and well-wishers, participating in half day event, a press release from Asian Media USA, said.
The festival, which signifies the victory of good over evil, is split into two events – Holika Dahan and Rangwali Holi. Holika Dahan takes place the night before Rangwali Holi. Wood and dung-cakes are burned in a symbolic pyre to signify good defeating evil (in Hindu Vedi scriptures, the God Vishnu helps burn the devil Holika to death). The next morning, people gather in public spaces and take part in Rangwali Holi, a raucous affair where people put colored powders (gulal) and colored water, on each other in joyful celebration of spring.
At the temple in Chicago, snacks and dinner were served in the free event as children and families participated using vibrant colors. The devotees prayed, danced and sang devotional songs. The audience repeatedly chanted ‘Shree Umiya Mata Ki Jai!!’ the press release said.
Shree Umiya Mataji is a Kuldevi of all Kadva Patidars Samaj, according to the press release.
“We celebrate this festival to forget the outgoing year’s pains and begin the New Year with feelings of love, sympathy, cooperation, equality and positive energy. Occasions like this are a good opportunity to introduce kids to the cultural aspects of our tradition,” attendee Lalbhai Patel is quoted saying in the press release.
Another attendee Khodabhai (Ken) Patel, said, “Holi solemnizes the love of Radha and Krishna. The spraying of colored powders recalls the love dance of Lord Krishna and his devotees. The color, fun and frolic that accompany the celebration of Holi are the witness to a feeling of oneness and sense of brotherhood. The festival brings home the spirit of cultural and social harmony.”