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October 27, 2020

Pelted with color

A colorful springtime celebration came late this year for celebrants of the South Asian spring festival of renewal, Holi. The Sunday, April 15 event took place in a smash of colors at Community Park in Morgan Hill with more than 160 festival goers in attendance.

Heavy March rains forced the rescheduling of the event from its normal new moon celebration on Poornima day—typically occurring during February or March in the Hindu calendar, which is lunisolar, meaning it is guided by both the moon and the sun.

Hosted by the Indian Association of South County (IASC), Holi celebrates the victory of good over evil—the bright spring season emerging from the cold winter.

Steeped in love and vibrant colors, vice president of IASC Monica Iyer said the traditional Hindu festival celebrates the Avatar Lord Vishnu and the story of how he defeated and killed an evil demon called Hiranyakashyap and his evil sister, the demoness Holika.

The holiday is typically celebrated with a bonfire, reminiscent of the fire that according to legend was used by Lord Vishnu to burn Holika.

“In modern times, it has also become a bigger celebration with colors,” said Iyer. Although it has its origins as a Hindu festival, Holi has a broader cultural significance and is observed among various Indian subcultures, she added.

With more than 400 community members in South Valley, Iyer noted the IASC is a secular non-profit. Beyond Indian celebrations, the IASC is eager to share its cultural traditions with the broader community.

“Our aim is to celebrate our culture and traditions and pass it down to our kids,” she said. “At the same time, we also want to share our rich tradition with our friends in the community who are not from India. Our celebrations are open to all. We are not religion-based.”

Meeting new people and making new friends is an important part of the festivities, she added.

“There is a lot of fun and frolic and most importantly our children have a fabulous time together,” Iyer said. “It is one event where even our teen kids love to come, get painted, play with water guns and just have a chilled-out time all day. It is a really feel good day for all of us.”

For more information about the Indian Association of South County, please visit iascinfo.com.

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