For Indians across the world, Holi it is not just a festival, it is celebration of life. From the bleak gloomy harrowing winter, it is a welcome to the incoming bright sunny clear beautiful days. It is passing away of all worries, and of course, it is celebrated with lots of food.
What makes Holi different is that the celebrations are not restricted to just friends and family, it is celebrated with anyone and everyone. For a day all differences in skin, race, gender, class or otherwise are put to rest.
Val-de-Reuil, a town located around 200 kms away from Paris, did not want to be left behind. A special carnival was organized on April 23, Saturday, by the Town Council with the support of GOPIO & GIO France. The theme was India and a celebration of her festival of colors - Holi.
Global Organization for People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) and Global Indian Organisation (GIO) of France partnered with the City Council of Val-de-Rueil, a small town in Normandie to take out a procession to color the streets and people alike. Mehen Poinoosawmy (GOPIO International Coordinator Europe) and Tarun Kalwani, the president of GOPIO France, along with the entire GOPIO and GIO France Executive Council were instrumental in organising the event.
The theme of the carnival was Indian Maharaja. Two Maharjas proudly gyrating on prop horses through the lanes of the town. Dance, music and the flying Indian tricolor added to the vibe. The carnival was adorned with symbols of the rich Indian culture, from Lord Ganesha to Indian Tiger and Taj Mahal.
A crowd of more than 1000 were eagerly waiting even before the carnival reached the event ground. There were stalls for refreshments, mehendi and Indian junk jewellery reminded one of an Indian Mela.
Surrounded by his team, Anwar Hussain serenaded the crowd with his sonorous voice with Rajasthani folk music. He is aptly named Bollywood Maharaja as he followed the Rajasthani folk song with floor thumping Bollywood music
The GOPIO team and the entire crowd started playing with colors. Even the sky turned from blue to red, green, yellow and pink. As people grooved to the music, Nari Shakti 2022 Begum Batoolji took to the stage and put everyone present in trance with another fare of Rajasthani folk. She was accompanied by Senu, who awed the crowd with the popular Rajasthani folk dance with Bhavai, balancing of eight pots on her head. If that wasn’t enough, she performed it on three steel blades.
The crowd gasped and cheered in equal measure as Anwar Bhai, Begum Batoolji, and the entire ‘Bassant' performed to roaring claps. From Bharatnatyam to Bollywood Pop, nothing was left behind to set the stage on.
Then the floor was thrown open for everyone to dance to popular Bollywood numbers. Hundreds of people from various cultural background were enthralled looking at such a beautiful festival of Holi. People irrespective of their age, from children to adults, everyone danced until sun settles for the day.
Finally, Nari Shakti 2022, Begum Batoolji was felicitated with a bouquet by Mme Stéphanie Rousselin, Deputy Mayor of Val de Reuil, as everyone cheered.
The theme was India and a celebration of her festival of colors - Holi. | FPJ photo
A crowd of more than 1000 were eagerly waiting even before the carnival reached the event ground. | FPJ photo
The crowd gasped and cheered in equal measure as Anwar Bhai, Begum Batoolji, and the entire ‘Bassant' performed to roaring claps. | FPJ photo
From Bharatnatyam to Bollywood Pop, nothing was left behind to set the stage on. | FPJ photo
Hundreds of people from various cultural background were enthralled looking at such a beautiful festival of Holi | FPJ photo