Town Hosts First-Ever Holi Celebration


by Maggie Parker

Bright colored sari gowns, a classical Indian dancer, bright colored powder daubed on faces, Indian sweets and flowered garlands for everyone festooned Huntington Town Hall, as Supervisor Ed Smyth and Town Attorney Deborah Misir welcomed the north shore's Indian community for the celebration of Holi.

“We join Huntington’s Indian-American community and all who observe this annual celebration of colors, with the hope, optimism and unity perfectly reflected during the springtime,” said Supervisor Ed Smyth. “We are a united community, and I am heartened to see such a gathering of officials, leaders and members of our community for this colorful, unifying celebration of spring."

Town Attorney, Deborah Misir - herself Indian-American - was an inspiration in making this the first time that the Town of Huntington formally celebrated this holiday within the Huntington council chambers.

"The holiday of Holi - or Paghwah as it is called in the Carbbean - is the Hindu spring festival," added "The holiday symbolizes the celebration of spring, friendship, family, and the victory of good over evil. Welcome to our Indian - American and Caribbean- American communities and people of all faiths who join together to celebrate this happy and fun holiday,”

The event was celebrated by the entire Huntington Town Board - Sal Ferro, Dave Bennardo, Gene Cook and Joan Cergol.

Suffolk District Attorney Ray Tierney - and Legislators Stephanie Bontempi, Manny Esteban and Rob Trotta were also in attendance.

Crowds of local Indian-Americans packed the brightly decorated Town Board room to enjoy authentic Indian delicacies and watch a traditional Kathak dance by local dancer Esha Misra. Elected officials were honored, as prominent members of the BAPS Temple placed gorgeous mala garlands around their necks. Children gleefully decorated their faces with colorful powders as they took in all of the bright and beautiful cultural elements that were on display. Plans are already in place for next years Holi celebration to be an even larger event with more music, dancing, colors and food. It promises to be one of the many jewels in a Town that celebrates and promotes inclusion and diversity all day and every day.