Delhi Committee of Chicago Sister Cities holds Holi in Windy City, thousands attend

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Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaking at the March 19, 2022, Holi celebrataions organized by Delhi Committee of Chicago Sister Cities, whose Chairman Smita N. Shah looks on. Photo: courtesy organizers.

CHICAGO –Thousands of Chicagoans gathered March 19, 2022, to celebrate the Festival of Colors – Holi – dancing to Indian music, and enjoying cultural programs and food.

According to organizers, this is the “first time a large metropolitan city in the United States, Chicago, celebrated the Indian festival of Holi.” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot was also present.

They estimate more than 2,000 people were at the joyful festival that included color throwing. The celebration was the last of three events in the Global Connections series at Navy Pier presented by ComEd, which previously hosted events celebrating the Chinese New Year and International Carnivale.

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“The Delhi Committee of Chicago Sister Cities is thrilled to partner with Navy Pier for this event so that Chicagoans and visitors can participate in the celebration of Holi, a holiday that marks new life and energy,” Smita N. Shah, chairman of the Delhi Committee of Chicago Sister Cities International, is quoted saying in the press release.

Shah is also Director on the Navy Pier Board of Directors, and CEO of SPAAN Tech, Inc.

“How fitting that we can celebrate this one of a kind event on our beautiful lakefront, with Mayor Lightfoot, in the City blessed by Swami Vivekananda,” Shah added.

organizers and special guests at the March 19, 2022, Holi celebrations in Chicago, including India’s Consul General Amit Kumar, 3rd from left, and Mayor Lori Lightfoot, and Smita Shah, 2nd from right. Photo: courtesy organizers

Also in attendance were Consul General of India in Chicago Amit Kumar, Indian community leader Niranjan S. Shah, Pratima Shah, and ABC 7 News reporter, Ravi Baichwal.

Baichwal welcomed attendees and served as the master of ceremonies.

“Chicago is a global city, and this partnership is a perfect example of that,” noted Mayor Lightfoot.  She also thanked Smita N. Shah for her commitment to the citizens of Chicago, leadership of the Delhi Committee, and for her appointment by President Biden to the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders, the press release said.

Organizers say Delhi’s position as a sister city to Chicago demonstrates the strong relationship between India and the city as well as the cultural importance of the established Indian-American community to the Chicagoland community.

Other events that the Delhi Committee of Chicago started are the  Annual Legacy of Mahatma Gandhi Luncheon in 2014, honoring the long-standing exchange of ideas between Mahatma Gandhi and the U.S., including the principles of truth and non-violence. Shah also helped secure the designation of October 2nd as Mahatma Gandhi Day in Chicago.

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