Queens residents celebrate Phagwah

Tangerine Clarke reports on the Phagwah festivities in Queens New York, for Caribbean Life.

The sunny, warm weather on Sunday, March 11 certainly complemented the arrival of spring in the Hindu calendar, that was celebrated at the 24th Annual Phagwah Festival in Richmond Hill, Queens.

Also known as Holi, the festival attracted an estimated 25,000 Indo-Caribbean nationals who lined Liberty Avenue to witness beautifully decorated floats, and revelers who danced to the sound of recorded Indian music and tass drumming.

Many on foot were dressed in traditional Indian regalia, carrying banners and flags that represented their rich cultural heritage. Young and old got into the merriment of throwing colored dyes on each other to celebrate the colorful flowers in bloom in the spring season.

The white clothes and faces of the festival goers were covered in the “Abrac” powder in red, yellow, blue, green and pink.

Traditionally celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon on the Hindu calendar, Holi also celebrates the triumph of good over evil and the welcome of the New Year.

The festival culminated with a spectacular cultural presentation in Smokey Oval Park in Richmond Hill.

For the original report: Queens residents celebrate Phagwah • Caribbean Life.

Author: Ken Archer

I am an ethnomusicologist, who obtained my doctoral degree at the Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio. My areas of interests include the musical, ritual, and celebratory traditions of the circum-Caribbean and the African Diaspora. I worked as a lecturer at the Columbus and Marion Campuses of the Ohio State University, where I taught classes in World Music, Rock and Roll/American Popular Music, Western Art Music, and directed the OSU Steel Pan ensemble.