Singapore Parliament’s Deputy Speaker Charles Chong today joined over 800 Indians and other community members in celebrating Holi and the arrival of the spring festival as part of the city state’s celebrations marking 50 years of independence.
“Today’s Holi and spring celebration is the start of more than 10 Holis planned throughout March by the Indian community here,” Piu Lahiri, president of the Indian Women Association (IWA), told PTI.
More than 800 Indians along with local members of the Chinese, Malays and Eurasians communities, took part in the festival while another 2,500 attended the colour sprinting event on Santosa, a bridge-linked islet popular among Singaporeans and tourists.
Lahiri said Holis and Diwalis were part of the many Indian festivals celebrated in multi-racial Singapore.
“We see the hosting of such events as more important for non-resident Indians as we need to inculcate our rich culture and heritage in our children,” she explained.
“While these events have been part of our lives back home in India, we need to show our children the importance of every season and festival,” said Lahiri, who hailed from Kolkatta and have lived over the years in Shimla, Egypt, South Korea, Thailand and Zambia.
These are important events for building family base for the ”trailing spouses” of international businessmen and corporate executives, she stressed.
This year’s Holi and spring festival celebrations were being jointly held by the Indians with local community centres and clubs as part of the SG50 (50 years of Singapore independence) celebration, said Uma Rajan, a medical consultant covering health care, Indian art, culture and heritage.
Like Holi in India, other Asian countries also celebrate spring festivals at about the same time which brings together the Holi and spring celebrations, said Rajan.
Main Holi events will be held over the weekends throughout March by community clubs such as Gujarati and Bengali Associations, according to Sukanya Pushkarna, who will become president of the 15-year old IWA in mid-March.
“This is why we have started celebrating Holi early from this weekend as we will continue participating in other Holis,” she said, adding that it is difficult to organise gatherings over week days due to work and school schedules.
Besides the main events, many of the families and friends have also planned a number of “condo Holis” to be held within the apartment and residential blocks, said Pushkarna.