Holi is an ancient pre christian Indian rite celebrating of the coming of Spring and was originally thought to have been performed by married women for the well being of their families.
Arts Ekta has been been producing the Belfast version of this festival in St Georges market since 2008, however, due to catching a clip on Radio Ulster this is the first time we have had the pleasure of attending.
We were surprised by the popularity – this being obvious by the length of the queue to gain admission. At £1.00 a head it is really good value for money. Find me anywhere where you can take the kids (Grandchildren) out and keep them entertained for that, plus drinks pressies and the usual add-ons mind you.
Of course, this being an Asian festival, there were a lot of Japanese stalls selling macramé and the like for the tsunami victims. My youngest granddaughter now has a collection of paper roses and vases!
Ther were the usual stalls offering various styles of food and I was surprised that there was only one offering curries and Indian “tapas”. Unfortunately they ran out of Nan bread and when I got to the head of the queue there was a 15 minute wait for rice. I settled for pakoras and samosas which were very tasty.
The entertainment was in the form of various dance troupes and bands, including the dance academy from St Cecelia’s in Derry.
It says something that the Punjabi folk dancing troupe, Balle Shava, are from Birmingham and the spectacular Bollywood Fusion Dancers are all Scottish born!
Probably the most spectacular were the Desi Brave Hearts, a Bollywood fusion troupe all of whom were born is Scotland. their energy and co-ordination was perfection.
Having said this all the acts were very good.
The actual highlight of the afternoon, the throwing of coloured powder on your family, friends and strangers, was a bit of a disaster as the stewards failed to make sure everybody was in the designated channel.
We were lucky to get into the arena as they ran out of powder sachets about 4 people behind us and, having queued for 45 minutes this must have been a bit of a let down. The reason given was the unprecedented number of people participating. I suspect that they will learn their lessons and next year will be better organised.