Surati for Performing Arts hosted their 10th Annual Holi Hai Festival of Colors on Saturday, May 5 in Exchange Place, Jersey City where over 12,000 people gathered to enjoy multicultural performances, ethnic food, retail vendors and kid-friendly educational activities.
The festival featured yoga demonstrations along the Hudson River as well as henna tattooing, interactive Rangoli demonstration and dance and music workshops.
Among the attendees were NJ State Assemblyman Raj Mukherji; New York’s Consul General of India, Ambassador Sandeep Chakravorty; Jersey City Council President Roland Lavarro; sponsors Ruddys Andrade, Director of External Affairs of Carepoint Health; Gina Hulings, Director of Cultural Affairs of Hudson County; Tamara Cunningham, AVP for Global Initiatives at New Jersey City University and Mohan Kothekar, Area Sales Manager of Air India.
Mukherji congratulated Surati for hosting Holi Hai “year after year,” while Andrade and Cunningham acknowledged and commended Founder-Artistic Director Rimli Roy and Surati’s hard work and said they were “honored to be associated with Surati.”
Performances included an Odissi dance to an adaptation of the Game of Thrones theme song by Surati students, a fusion of Indian dance and ballet on a song written by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore by Surati’s professional touring company and an performance by Indonesian Dance Group Saung Budaya.
Live music was provided by violinist Sujata Biswas accompanied by Dibyarka Chatterjee on the table and DJ Rekha kept spinning while Bollywood composer and singer Rajesh Roy also gave a live performance.
Though Holi has its roots in Indian mythology, Surati celebrates it as a strictly secular event, encouraging participation from all cultures and ethnicities.
Holi is also as a great equalizer in India, with rules of caste and creed briefly forgotten; it is a way to present inspiring stories of good over evil and the festival has become a more general celebration of spring, new beginnings, brotherhood and diversity.