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Holi Celebrations in Singapore

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by J.D.Wen (subscribe)
I'm based in Singapore with interests in classical music, art & culture related talks, art fairs, ceramics, walking tour, food, travel, photography, pet dogs, fashion, sustainability and urban farming. Contact me at culturedcreaturelover@gmail.com
Published March 23rd 2016
Holi Festival is celebrated by Indian communities worldwide
Indian communities all over the world gather on Holi in celebration of the spring festival. It is celebrated on the full moon day in the month of Phalguna (between February and March of Gregorian calendar). Various colours and water are thrown on each other, amidst loud music to celebrate it. It was believed Lord Krishna used to celebrate holi with colours. In ancient time, colours were made from flowers and trees.

Holi is an ancient festival linked to King Hiranyakashipu, who regarded himself as a God and intended to seek revenge for the death of his younger brother killed by Lord Vishnu. His son, Prahalad, a great devotee of Lord Vishnu, was about to be killed as he refused to worship his own father. The king asked his sister, Holika, to sit on a pyre of fire with his son. As Prahald recited chantings, he survived while Holika was turned into ashes. In the end, the king was killed by Lord Vishnu. This signifies the victory of good over evil. The death of Holika is associated with Holi.

The duration of the festival is generally three days. On the first day, which is known as Holi Purnima, people would arrange the powders and water in small brass pots. It begins with an elderly male sprinkling colours on the rest of family members. On the second day, which is known as Puno, the family will burn Holika images and create bonfires as a remembrance of Holika and Prahalad. Young children with their mothers walk five rounds of the bonfire in a clockwise direction asking for blessings. On Parva, which is the third day, the powders and water will be poured to anyone who partakes in the festival.Holi is also known as Dol or Vasanta Utsov (Fetsival of Spring) in the state of West Bengal.

Throwing colourful paints at each other has become one of the highly-anticipated components of the festival in the recent years. Non-Indians are welcome to participate too.

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Holi - photo courtesy of Esplanade


Be treated to a series of free performing arts such as dancing, singing, storytelling in this festival of colours!

  • Mandala Mania, PIP's PLAYbox, 25-27 March 2016 11am 6pm
    Children will get a chance to create their own mandalas with paper and transparent plastic film.

  • Meera's Adventures, PIP's PLAYbox, 25-27 March 2016 1pm and 3pm.
    Duration: 30 minutes
    Grace Kalaiselvi tells you the tales about love and family.

  • Spice Corner, Festival Corner, 25 27 March 2016 10am 10pm
    Be treated to the aromas of spices and their colourful textures shown on mandala spice prints.

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    Students from GIIS - Photo courtesy of www.esplanade.com


  • Holi Ke Naach!, Concourse, 25 March 2016 4.15pm, 5.15pm, 6.15pm and 7.15pm.
    Duration: 30 minutes
    Students of Global Indian International School East Coast Campus will perform a selection of classical and folk dances celebrating the spring festival. It is choreographed by Srabonti Dutta. They will perform in Bengali

  • Holi Hai!, Outdoor Theatre, 25 March 2016 7pm, 8.15pm and 9.30pm.
    Duration: 45 minutes
    Amit Dhamelia and Band will present popular Holi folksongs with a Bollywood twist. These songs are originate from different regions such as Gujarat, Punjab, Ayodhya, Rajasthan.

  • Holi Mela, Concourse, 26 March 2016 4.15pm, 5.15pm, 6.15pm and 7.15pm
    Duration: 30 minutes
    As Nepal in a home to more than 40 ethnic groups, Nepalese Society members in Singapore from Brahmin, Chetri, Newar, Magar, Gurung, Rai, Limbu, Marwari, Sherpa, Tamang, Tharus, Thakuri, Thakali, Teli and Yadav ethnic groups will deliver songs and dance from these communities.

  • Holi Pichkari, Outdoor Theatre, 26 March 2016 7pm, 8.15pm and 9.30pm.
    Duration: 45 minutes
    Crossroad Traffic rock band formed by Indian expatriates will entertain audiences throughout the night.

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    Rang Barse - photo courtesy of www.esplanade.com

  • Let's Play Holi, Lawn, from 4.30pm onwards
    Duration: 2 hours
    Let's join the fun when DJ Milan spins the latest Bollywood numbers and the Singapore Dhol Federation entertains you with their percussive beats. Double the fun with throwing colours activity.

  • Swar Rangavali, Concourse, 27 March 2016 4.15pm, 5.15pm, 6.15pm and 7.15pm
    Duration: 30 minutes
    Temple of Fine Arts will present a medley of music genres such as hori, kajri, chaiti, and phag in Hindustani.

  • Rang Barse, Outdoor Theatre, 27 March 2016 7pm and 8.15pm.
    Duration: 45 minutes
    Sandeep Chatterjee and Friends will perform a selection of folk and popular Holi songs from West Bengal.
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    Why? Holi Festival is one of the oldest festival in India. Let's celebrate it in Esplanade Theatres on the bay. All are welcome!
    Phone: 6828 8377
    Where: The Esplanade Co Ltd, 1 Esplanade Drive Singapore 038981
    Cost: FREE
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