AHIA Holi celebration 2023

Kids, teens, young adults, seniors, all gathered for a spot of Holi masti at AHIA's trademark celebration in Sydney

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Trust AHIA to start the pandemonium. Of Holi 2023, that is.

The Australian Hindi Indians Association AHIA has been doing Holi meet-ups for so long that we almost expect it to lead, where the Festival of Colour is concerned. And so, even though Holi is not until 8 March, we had AHIA kicking it all off in late February, with the first bash of the season in our community.

How would you describe Holi to non-Indians? The religious and spiritual significance aside, we’d say it is a feelgood festival, in which the main element is – to simply have as much fun as possible.

Mucking up with the gulal (coloured powder) and the water pistols. Gentle teasing. Singing out of tune. Dancing with abandon (and literally, like no one’s watching). Forgetting the diet for the day and gorging on some good quality desi khana. Kicking up the heels. Having a great big belly laugh. Letting go.

These are essential aspects of the Festival of Colour, and we got them all at AHIA Holi. Kids, teens, young adults, seniors, all gathered for a spot of fun, indeed more than a touch, of pure Holi masti. Sushma Ahluwalia, President of AHIA, had as usual catered for all.

Sydney holi
Holi is all about… white kurtas and wide smiles…
holi fun
… and kicking up the heels…
… with the besties.
sushma ahluwalia preeti thadani at ahia holi event
Preeti: Should we get on with the stage bit? Sushma: No I want to be outdoors for more Holi!

The Mayor of the Hills Shire Council Dr Peter Gangemi looked pleased to be part of it all, honouring the 42% multicultural residents in the LGA in his speech. 6 per cent, he added, were of Indian origin.  Putting the festival of Holi in the broader context of the Hills community, he noted its significance as a time  of new beginnings for all. “It’s a fresh start for so many in our community,” he said. “A second chance for those that need it – the drought, bushfire and COVID affected. It’s a chance for a colourful future.”

peter gangemi preeti thadani
Mayor Dr Peter Gangemi: Preeti’s just welcomed me with colour on my face. What‘s the protocol, do I do the same to her..?
Hills Shire Council Mayor Dr Peter Gangemi at AHIA Holi event
No, I’ll just get on with my speech.

Colouring the moment, however, were MC Preeti Thadani in her multi-hued sari (who managed to keep the Holi din controlled long enough for the stage events), and a bout of Bhangra. The sheer energy of this bit of Punjabi tradition is bound to get the audience’s attention, and the dancers on this occasion, in the brightest and boldest colours, delivered beautifully.

The colour-drenched audience got their chance at the end, as the dance floor beckoned.

Bhangra boys have the moves… and the colours
kids at holi
boys at holi
High school nerds…
Boys at holi
… finally loosen up and let their hair down (somewhat)
Aussie family at a Holi event
Now this was fun! Let’s come back next year
holi kids
Does my hair still look good
mohinder sharma at holi event
Mohinder Sharma: I thank you all sincerely… for allowing me to go home with a relatively clean shirt today
holi families
Mummies be like: Bath-time will be fun tonight.
kids at holi
Last word: We don’t want to go home. We want MORE Holi.


Learn more about AHIA here

Rajni Anand Luthra
Rajni Anand Luthra
Rajni is the Editor of Indian Link.

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