Holi brings happiness

(From left) Aditi Raj (4), Arohi Raj (7), Simran Chand (11) and Avni Narayan (7) celebrate their first Holi in Invercargill on Saturday.

SURROUNDED by colours and music, Fijian-Indian national Shinal Deo could not hide her happiness at celebrating the festival of Holi for the first time in Invercargill.

She gathered her family and members of Southland’s Fijian-Indian community at her home in Invercargill on Saturday to celebrate the important date for the Hindu religion.

The Hindu festival of Holi, also known as the festival of colours, marks the beginning of the spring season in the Indian subcontinent and is a celebration of the triumph of good over evil.

‘‘That is why we celebrate with colours, food, sweets and music. It is about bringing fun and having everyone coming together to celebrate.’’

Mrs Deo, who has lived in Southland for 13 years, was thrilled to be able to host the event at her home for the first time.

‘‘It wasn’t very common when we moved here because there weren’t a lot of people. But being part of this celebration today reminded me of memories of my childhood when we celebrated Holi back home.

‘‘We always celebrated Holi as a family, but nothing like this year. It was long,’’ she said, laughing.

Mrs Deo said the celebrations started at 9am on Saturday, as the group visited about eight houses of Fijian-Indian community members from across Southland.

It finished at Mrs Deo’s house in the evening where they remained, singing and celebrating until 3am, she said.

‘‘I feel so happy. Some of the kids were celebrating Holi for the first time. It is a great feeling having everyone coming together to be happy and celebrate our traditions.’’