Festivals like Phagwah help to foster social cohesion
Georgetown, Guyana – (March 1, 2018) As has become a custom on many national holidays and other important observances in Guyana, President David Granger and First Lady Mrs. Sandra Granger, today, hosted a Phagwah celebration at the Baridi Benab at State House. The Head of State said that “festivals such as Phagwah or Holi help to foster cohesion, foster respect and foster understanding.”
He also urged that these festivals, which were brought by Indian indentured labourers 180 years ago, be observed in communities across the country so that people will have a better understanding and appreciation of the diverse cultures that make up the Guyanese society.
Many of the holidays and observances that usher in the season of spring are celebrated in Guyana, including Chinese New Year and Easter. President Granger said that “These are spring festivals, they all celebrate colours, they all celebrate the end of winter, they celebrate the start of a new phase of live…Holi is secular and spiritual, spiritual in the sense that it symbolises the struggles and triumph of Prahalad secular in the sense that it brings us all together,” President Granger said.
Today’s event saw the participation of various youth groups which entertained the gathering with dances, tassa drumming and songs, especially chowtal songs, which are synonymous with the festival of colours. Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Carl Greenidge, who is currently performing the functions of Prime Minister, Chancellor of the Judiciary, Ms. Yonette Cummings-Edwards, Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr. Barton Scotland, several other Government Ministers, the diplomatic corps and a number religious and youth leaders attended the event.
Phagwah, which will be officially celebrated tomorrow, is a national holiday in Guyana. It signifies the victory of good over evil and the arrival of spring. It is also celebrated as a festival of colours in the honour of Hindu god Vishnu and his follower Prahalad.