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Holi celebration promotes community togetherness By Audrey boyce

The Belmont community had the opportunity to immerse themselves in Hindu culture for an afternoon. On March 24, the Belmont Library hosted a Holi celebration, which drew a large turnout for Indian themed activities, performances, and food.

The Belmont community had the opportunity to immerse themselves in Hindu culture for an afternoon. On March 24, the Belmont Library hosted a Holi celebration, which drew a large turnout for Indian themed activities, performances, and food.

Dancers from the Pagrav Dance Studio kicked off the event by performing their traditional Indian dances and poetry.

“Our dance classes are complemented with meditation, dance history lessons, and opportunities to choreograph,” said Purvi Jejurkar, the artistic director and owner of the Pagrav Dance Studio located in Belmont.

Their storytelling through movement and performance explains how Holi is a holiday announcing the beginning of spring and the passing of winter. The festival signifies the victory of good over evil.

Director of the event Kathleen Beasley, the Belmont Library branch manager, has been collaborating with the Indian community in Belmont for six years. They started with Diwali and last year they added Purvi Jejurkar. Now, there's Holi, too. The celebrations of Indian culture have only become more intricate and inclusive.

“We have a communal mural, and then there is the dancing that’s going on now, and then when the dancing is over, everybody will go run out to the playground and throw the colors, and we’re having samosas and chai,” said Patrali Paul, an event coordinator.

At the front of the library, where the mural was laid out, people were able to add their own unique touches to it.

“People are doing individual parts of the mural, but together, just like a community, it takes all the individuals combined. It’s going to be wonderful, and we will display it in the library,” Beasley said.

And, it seemed like a solid amount of people participating. According to Beasley, the number of people attending the event increased by about 10 percent compared to last year. Not only does that mean the event is growing in popularity, but for many participants it is their first time attending.

“We like to celebrate Holi at home, so I was excited to see what an event would be like with all the different colors being thrown around. We watched classical dancing, and it was really nice. We’ve enjoyed it so far,” said Ralph Niewmierzyzki, a Belmont father of two.

Bringing people together all the way until the end, the celebration included colored powder, or gulal, set out for attendees to dip their hands into and throw at family members and friends. Everyone was erupting in laughter and covered in bright colorful powder to bring the Belmont community's observation of Holi to a close.

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