Festivals Like Phagwah Help to Foster Unity: President Granger

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GEORGETOWN, GUYANA — As has become a custom on many national holidays and other
important observances in Guyana, President David Granger and First Lady
Mrs. Sandra Granger, on Thursday, 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
laborers 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.

The 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.

Meanwhile, opposition leader Bharrat Jagdeo and opposition legislators
attended several Holi events, and celebrated the festival with Guyanese from
all walks of life.

The People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) in a statement, said, “Holi is a
festival that has truly become national and one that is most anticipated having
transcended religious boundaries. This is manifested through the participation
of a wide cross section of Guyanese throughout the country. The fun and frolic
that have come to be associated with it remain a catalyst for forging harmony
among all of our people.”

The PPP message added, “Our Party urges all Guyanese to heed the pertinent
message of this festival – that of the triumph of good over evil. The story of
Prahalad reinforces that hope must always remain alive for in the end, evil will
ultimately be defeated.”

Phagwah, which was be officially celebrated on Friday, 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.

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