The Europeans just don’t celebrate the seasons enough, do they? Particularly in Scandinavia where you’d think we’d be grateful for the advent of spring after all those harsh winter months, although this year’s was pretty tropical compared to the previous two. But venture outside the continent, and spring’s a huge deal for many nationalities and religions. It’s a time for joy, colourful celebration, and reckless abandonment – and that’s just in the countries whose winters are milder than our summers.
One such festival is the Hindu spring festival of Holi, the festival of colours. Popular in India, Bangladesh and Nepal and anywhere with a large population of people from those countries, it is celebrated on the last full moon day of the lunar month of Phalguna.
On Holi, all castes are cast aside, along with social etiquette. It’s a time for the rich and poor, old and young, and men and women, to mingle, creating an exciting atmosphere as celebrants do things they wouldn’t normally dream of doing in the rest of the year.
Along with the prayers and praise, the air is filled with scented powder, perfume and the smell of bonfires – lit to commemorate the escape of Prahlad from a fire that he was taken into by the demoness Holika, who herself perished.
There are an estimated 6,500 Indians in Denmark and most of them are members of an expat association, whether it’s Indians in Denmark or Expat in Denmark. Now they can add another group to the list: the Indian Danish Association (Indanes), which chose Holi to enjoyed its inaugural celebration on March 17 at Bellahøj Skole in Brønshøj.
Already with nearly 400 friends on Facebook, the Indanes celebration was well attended. “We are pleased to inform you that the event was a tremendous success; approximately 200 people attended the event,” event organiser Shrikant Bhalekar told The Copenhagen Post.
“Very highly talented participants gave various cultural performances. This event was highly acclaimed by the audience and we were pleased to receive tonnes of positive feedback for this event, which can be seen by the comments posted by the audience on the Indanes Facebook site.”
Indanes has been founded with five major objectives: to promote cross-cultural activities between Danes and Indians; to establish networks among Indians living in Denmark to help them integrate into Danish society; to celebrate Indian festivals; to teach and keep the Indian children up-to-date with their mother tongue; and to promote sports and dancing activities for children and adults. Additionally, there are plans to set up a ladies club.
To find out more about Indanes, join them on Facebook and register at www.indanes.com.