Indian community

Mamer celebrates 'Holi' with colourful festival

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By Sarita Rao

The Indian community of Luxembourg gathered on Sunday 19 March to celebrate the Holi & Spring Festival at Mamer Schlass.

Attendees were entertained with “Bollywood” dancing and classical Indian songs. The highlight of the showcase came from professional Kathak dancer, Surili Avantika, who trained in both Amsterdam and Delhi. Kathak dancing is one of India’s oldest dance forms, historically performed in palaces and temples.

Event organiser Sunita Trivedi said: “It’s important for our children to know and celebrate this key Indian festival.”

“It’s a great chance to catch up with friends and let go,” added Toshda Roy, who was also on stage, together with Asha Dixit, to introduce each act.

The traditions of Holi

Holi is the celebration of various mythological legends, including one in which Krishna throws colours over Radha and the Gopis, which is where the symbolic throwing of coloured paint heralds from. In all the legends fêted across the different parts of India, good always triumphs over evil.

Holi Indian festival Mamer
Holi Indian festival Mamer
Photo: Joaquim Valente

“Holi is celebrated when the fields are in full bloom and ready for harvest,” explained Selvaraj Alagumalai, from the Indian Association of Luxembourg, adding: “As dancing and feasting are an integral part of Holi, we are celebrating today with colourful dance performances and a scrumptious ‘potluck’ of curries from different parts of India.”

Mamer commune encourages voting but not paint

The commune of Mamer was happy to provide use of its “salle de fête” for the celebrations, and used the opportunity to remind attendees at the festival that they are entitled to vote in municipal elections if they have lived in Luxembourg for more than five years.

However, the commune was unable to approve the throwing of organic dye powders this year. Instead the Indian Association came up with the ingenious idea of welcoming guests with a coloured “tilak” on their forehead, and representing the “colours” of Holi through a selection of multi-coloured “burfi” (a fudge-like Indian sweet).

Indian community appreciates Luxembourg

There are approximately 1,400 Indian people living in Luxembourg. The Indian Association of Luxembourg helps members of the Indian community with local integration, but also tries to enhance awareness of the rich cultural heritage of India to everyone living and working in the Duchy.

Sunita has been living in Luxembourg for some 20 years and runs classes in Bollywood dancing and Indian cookery. “A lot of Luxembourgers are interested in India from a cultural point of view and really want to know more about our country,” she explained.

Selvaraj has lived in Luxembourg for nearly 25 years. “It’s a melting pot of nationalities, with such a serene yet cosmopolitan quality of life,” he said.

His personal motto for Luxembourg: “Small enough to care but big enough to share.”

And sharing – friendship, food, laughter and celebration was the order of the day at Mamer.

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