Last year, we celebrated Holi, a Hindu spring festival, at Kampong Kembangan Community Club. This year, we opted not to return to the CC, but check out a number of other celebrations around town.
On Saturday, we celebrated Holi with water canons and gulal, on East Coast Park’s Angsana Green. The event was sponsored by the Singapore Gujarati Society, the Singapore Sindhi Association, and the Marwari Mitra Mandal, and I found it much more family-friendly than Kampong Kembangan Community Club’s annual celebration (no obnoxious DJ, more young children, more families, non-toxic gulal).
Later that evening, we celebrated again with gulal, at “Holi: Colours of Spring” at the Esplanade’s first annual (?) weekend-long (!) Holi celebration. We played Holi on the lawn and watched a sampling of traditional and contemporary South Asian dance (Bhangra, lavani, Bollywood) by Shere Punjab Bhangra, Maharahstra Mandal, and Bollybeatz Singapore. Shere Punjab Bhangra, a professional troupe, dazzled.
We also saw a raas leela, a devotional dance and theatre tradition in praise of Lord Krishna, performed by the young students of Global Indian Cultural Centre. This raas leela combined both traditional and folk dances, from Kathak, Kuchipudi, and Odissi to dandiya and kollattam.
Today, we returned to “Holi: Colours of Spring” for a Hindustani vocal semi-classical medley, performed by Kalyani Puranik and her students at the Temple of Fine Arts, and a Rabindra Sangeet medley, performed by Chandankana Sarkar and her ensemble of musicians. The former performance presented various traditional Holi songs, such a rasiya and thumri. Of note was an incredible hori sung in 14 beats. The latter presented music usually sung during the Bengali and Oriya festival of Dol Purnima or Basanta Utsav, which also heralds the coming of spring. I hadn’t heard Rabindra Sangeet in a while, so it was a treat to revel in it tonight.