LVGC Celebrates Holi Festival Of Colors

This display celebrating Holi was curated by Kassie Miller Roth. (Photo courtesy Dagmar Karppi)

The Locust Valley Library showcase display for March is in celebration of the Indian festival of Holi. It is curated by Locust Valley Garden Club member Kassie Miller Roth. Born in Trinidad into a Hindu Indian family, she has participated in many Holi festivals growing up. This year the official day, determined by the Hindu lunar calendar was March 8. “But we celebrate it all month,” said Kassie.
Holi is the festival of colors and a celebration of spring, friendship, family and the victory of good over evil. It is an ancient Hindu tradition and marks the end of winter and the beginning of spring. Kassie explained that people decorate the insides and outsides of their homes with flags, traditionally in red, yellow, blue and green. The same colors as the plant based powders they toss at each other to release all inhibitions and start fresh.
They play traditional folk music on the drums and Jall, that set the rythmn for dancing. “My sisters and brothers all danced and sang and tossed the colored powders over each other. You get drenched in colors so that you almost can’t recognize each other. It is all water based and so washes out easily,” she explained.
“Holi is famously celebrated in Uttar Pradesh, India where my grandfather came from. It is celebrated, any place on the globe, where Indians have settled. He was one of the indentured laborers who came to work on the sugar cane fields in Trinidad, a British colony. When his contract was up, he stayed and bought land to create a plantation where he grew coffee, cocoa, citrus, rice and vegetables. He married and had a large family. My grandfather lived to 105, my father will be 91 in July. His was the first generation born in Trinidad.
“My family follows the Hindu tradition, that is a way of life and the art of living. We grew up with motto that ‘service to man is service to God’. It is a famous quote from Swami Vivekananda.”
In the exhibit case, outside the Community Room at the Locust Valley Library, the top shelf shows women wearing the traditional saris.
The second shelf signifies the temple and two women, dressed in dance costumes, ready to perform. Each are holding a lotus flower, that symbolizes purity and overcoming adversity and re-birth.
The third shelf shows the colors of Holi and the powder that people throw at each other.
“The fourth shelf in the display represents my village. It has a truck that people rode in as they sang to the crowds during Holi. It was decorated with flags. The display also shows a bonfire. They were lighted the evening before Holi, and people danced and sang around it. Written on a plaque in front of my house in Hindi, was: Prem sagar bhavan. It means the house of love.”
The bottom shelf has clay pots to hold colored water and powder. All the items shown were handmade and painted in Trinidad.
The Locust Valley Garden Club meets at the LV Library the third Wednesday of the month, at 10 a.m., starting in March. The program donation is $15. If you love horticulture and want to meet fellow gardeners, contact Dean Yoder, president, at

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