Holi, the festival of colors, was celebrated at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza in mid-town Manhattan on April 30, as thousands of men, women and children, came to enjoy the festival of colors in what organizers see as a trend toward globalization of the ancient Hindu festival celebrating the onset of Spring. The event attracted a multicultural, international crowd that enjoyed throwing colors and dancing to Indian and fusion music played by live bands, as well as watch groups of dancers perform.
Organized by NYC Bhangra Dance Company & School, the event attracted more than 10,000 people, whose numbers were tracked by the wristbands issued, organizers told Desi Talk. It was the largest of the seven “Holi Hai” events held so far by NYC Bhangra, Megha Kalia, founder of the school said.
“The concept of Holi is catching up all over the world. But it’s also about how you package it,” Kalia said. This was a free, family-friendly, no-alcohol event, the only one of its kind in the city, she said. The event was completely funded by NYC Bhangra, and cost more than $60,000 in total costs, with permits, insurance, etc. making up 30 percent, besides execution, production and cleaning, Kalia said.
“There were people from all walks of life, there was great energy. You really saw the magic unfold before you,” she said describing her experience of merging with the crowds in her Bhangra costume and encouraging groups of attendees, including some very shy kids, take to the floor to dance to the beat. A week before, thousands came to celebrate Holi in Brooklyn that featured a local talent in a music and art festival.