On Thurs 7 Aug 08 @9PM I had a deeply moving and spiritual experience when I lit candles and deeyas for Tibet. This was in unison with everyone in my time zone and done globally. I'd like to explore this and share my experiences with you and hear yours as we participate in universal collective prayer events together. I hope to work together with all the universe's beings as we move toward the ideal of Universal Collective Prayer.

Come join me in Universal Collective Prayer!

May God Bless Us All!

UCP-Universal Collective Prayer is produced by Meady's Musings Production . Copyright 2006-2011

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Happy Holi or Playful Phagwa 2009!

Poster done by my soul sister from Mexico Adriana Ochoa. She owns her own Advertising firm there.

This one's for my friend from the Intent community Alok aka Care Forall. He loves when I do the dance and he made a special request that I do something on Holi. He says although I've never even been to the subcontinent I've awoken in his heart all his memories of Hindu/Indian festivals. I've even inspired him to blog himself but he said you do the Holi blog cause well...:)

So this one's for Care as we call him for short...

Holi is actually called Phagwa in Trinidad as it is the Bhojpuri word for it and the majority of Indians who settled here in the 19th century spoke Bhojpuri. Holi or Phagwa is not only celebrated in India but throughout the Indian diaspora-Trinidad, Suriname, Guyana and other countries where Hindus live like Nepal and of course in the newer diaspora of North America where Indians started to migrate to in the 60s basically. Care is a member of the newer diaspora from what I gather...

Here is the summary of the exchange between Care and I on Intent that has led to this blog! :)

I wrote in response to his asking if I celebrate Holi in Trinidad and if I'd blog it:

"and care yes we celebrate holi here aka phagwa but for us it is less about the spring now as of course no spring in caribbean and more about the religious aspects...here it is strict no alcohol etc in the festivities...you have to appreciate however in the context that we exist in a society that has carnival just before...people have if they choose I guess many other avenues for release and partying in a multicultural society...so...we also have chowtal singing and of recent years a group had their own innovative creation of social commentary in English but with Hindi mixed...perhaps Hinglish if you like...something called Pichakaree...but yup we have the abeer and stuff...more the liquid is used here than the powder...but we have both...look fwd to your post...perhaps if I get less busy I'll post something too and get some vid footage of the festival as celebrated here to put up on my Universal Collective Prayer. If you write something of value I can share it on my blog too...with editing if I notice the need..."

Care Forall's response:

"For others the words used by Babita are translated as:-
1. Pichkaree( Its kind of a gun which fires water mixed with colours , it comes in all varities , i prefer the tradition one , the one used by Lord Krishna to color his Gopikas ( grl mates :-)) )
2. Abir : Powdered color , its mixed with little bit of intoxication too i guess
3. Bhang ( its a tradition drink made out by mixing milk , almonds , toxic leaf , flavour ) .

1. In the morning the wet holi is played with water colours ( you better wear your old clothes or something you dont love as that would be definitely torn ;-) ) and better protect your lovely cheeks and hair as that would be colored with all wet colours .
2. Then in the noon people take bath (it takes atleast 2 hours to take off those colors and it still doesnt go so fast )
3. Then people have bhang (drink ) , Chole , Jalebi , Dahi Vada ... etc etc .
4. In the evenig dry holi is played with powdered colour , men are dressed in Kurta Payjama and girls in whites too .

Bura na mano holi hai ( Dont mind guys as today is holi and we have the liberty :-)) ) thats what you can say anyone for all the fun you are having with them that day .

Babita i will prefer to read your article than write my own."

So you see I'm the anointed one! :) So blessed to be given the power of the Pichakaree...ahmm...I mean pen...I mean power of the finger tip to keyboard!:) But yep I'm the one who must write...

I can say that in Trinidad Phagwa is seen very much as a holy festival and here the Hindu rites are very strict in terms of Vaishnavite traditions I guess so no use of meat, fish, eggs or alcohol or bhang when taking part in anything involving mainstream Hindu rites. So our Phagwa has no bhang or alcohol use. It is in stark contrast to the Carnival celebrations that the island is known for in that sense as no alcohol use is allowed on the Phagwa playing grounds! :) And I like that I mean for me the dance that is Universal Collective Prayer should be done on a natural high which can easily be found no need for the intoxicants! :) But as I say to each her own! :)

When Care translated Pickharee for me he said about the gun used to squirt the abeer but here in Trinidad the Hindu Prachar Kendra under the then leadership of local Hindu icon Ravi Ji developed these special Phagwa celebrations that included a song competition called Pichakaree where the contestants sang on the ills of the society i.e. social commentary if you have it...sort of similar to calypso but with a Trini Indian slant usually incorporating Hindi words or as I was saying Hinglish even and usually focusing on issues relevant to the Indo Trinidadian that may have been particular to them and overlooked in the songs of the calypsonians who were mostly of Afro origin. I have personally been to that Kendra's celebrations once or twice when they were held and I'd have to say they were quite the thing! :)Hats off to ya for your creations Uncle Ravi Ji! :) Hope Geeta continues on...

Then the mainstream Hindu organization on the island the Sanathan Dharma Maha Sabha has significant traditional celebrations in their schools and on a national level. I've taken part in all of them at some point in my life. I grew up also playing mostly with the liquid abeer at home and have fond memories of when my grandfather the late Pundit Parasram used to lead a chowtal singing group! :) In the traditions the chowtal singing is in Hindi/Bhojpuri and usually songs about Ram!

Here are some songs of Holi or Phagwa all over the diaspora and that famous Bollywood tune thrown in for good measure! :)One of the songs is done by the SWAHA group in Trinidad which is another Hindu organization that promotes traditional Hinduism as was practiced by the people who migrated here from India in the 19th century. Happy Holi! Playful Phagwa!:

PS:The President of Trinidad and Tobago is going to be playing Phagwa with the kids at the Maha Sabha School in Tunapuna this Saturday and everyone is invited. If I get the chance I will go down and grab some footage to share! :) On the whole Phagwa is marked as a major festival in Trinidad and Tobago's calendar of events! Tourist invited!

No comments:

Copyright Meady's Musings Production 2006-2013