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Holi Celebrated in London

It was a beautiful spring day in Forest Hill (dubbed the Vrindavan of London) where many converged at the Maha Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan to celebrate the colourful festival of Holi or Phagwah. The sun was shining and it was a pleasant morning. Everyone was dressed in their traditional costumes especially the children.

MLVB is considered to be a unique Temple in London where Hindus from all over the world gather to observe many festivals, however many flock to MLVB because they say that this is the only place where Holi is celebrated in the “traditional style”. In the large gathering were families from Guyana, Trinidad, Mauritius, United Kingdom, the Indian sub continent and beyond.

Many of the MLVB Youths brought their school and college friends who are non Hindus but wanted to experience the celebration of festival of colours, Holi.

We were indeed fortunate to have Shri Chandresh Sharma who is the Honourable Minister of Local Government of Trinidad and Tobago as the chief guest. Shri Sharma is in London as part of a delegation with the Trinidad Prime Minister but did not want to miss the Holi Celebrations; he was accompanied by his wife and representatives from the Trinidad High Commission. He spoke very passionately about our religion and culture and how the teachings of Ramayan could benefit our everyday lives.

The Mandir reverberated with many Holi songs and pulsating rhythm of the Chowtaal rendered by the MLVB Youths. After a very enjoyable programme, the fun began with everyone lovingly smearing each other with coloured powder and fragrant perfume. Everyone enjoyed the abundant traditional sweets and snacks provided by devotees of the Mandir.
This Holi celebration transcended the bounds of class and colour and was celebrated in the true spirit of friendship, joy, merriment and love.

One comment from many at the celebrations was “we can’t wait until next year to come and celebrate Holi again”.
On the eve of Holi, Holika Dahan was observed where a bonfire was lit symbolising the triumph of good over evil. Devotees merrily danced around the fire as coconuts were roasted and eventually served as prashad.

Ramesh Charan
Maha Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan