Celebrations awash with colour, food and dance for 3,000 revellers at Holi festival

Participants throw coloured powder at each other during Holi Mela 2016 at the open field along Tanjong Rhu View.
Participants throw coloured powder at each other during Holi Mela 2016 at the open field along Tanjong Rhu View. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
A combination of photographs showing participants posing for the camera during Holi Mela 2016.
A combination of photographs showing participants posing for the camera during Holi Mela 2016. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

SINGAPORE - Some 3,000 revellers gathered at a field in Tanjong Rhu on Friday to dance, eat and throw handfuls of coloured powder at each other in celebration of Holi, the Hindu festival of colours.

While Holi fell on Thursday (March 24) this year, organisers decided to hold the celebration on Friday, to ride on the public holiday. The event, which ran from 10am to 4pm and featured musical and dance performances, was organised by the Katong Community Centre (CC) Management Committee, in partnership with four major Indian community associations: Marwari Mitra Mandal (Singapore), Singapore Sindhi Association, Maharashtra Mandal (Singapore) and Singapore Gujarati Society.

Nearly 400kg of coloured powder, which is made of corn flour, was imported from India for the event, said Marwari Mitra Mandal president Santosh Kumar Tibarewala, 64.

Packets of the powder sold for $2.50 a piece, and some people brought along water guns to add to the fun.

Mountbatten SMC MP Lim Biow Chuan, who was at the event, gamely had his face and clothing smeared with shades of orange, pink, blue, green, red and yellow.

"The Festival of Holi has (an) ancient origin and celebrates the triumph of good over bad. Holi Mela 2016 (brings) together the different communities and celebrates the importance of racial harmony in Singapore,"said Mr Lim, who is also Deputy Speaker of Parliament.

While many attendees were residents of nearby condominiums, some came from as far as Jurong.

"I've never been to a Holi celebration before so I wanted to bring my kids. It's like the Colour Run but without having to run and sweat," said sales assistant Lam Mei Ting, 42.

Housewife Raina Khare, 32, said that she and her husband moved to Singapore from Beijing two weeks ago, and came to the event to celebrate the Hindu festival and meet people.

"It's nice to be around so many Indians and dance and enjoy the food," she said.

For Mr Keyur Master, who works in the information technology sector, it was a proud moment for him as his five-year-old daughter took to the stage to a Bollywood dance number.

"If you look at what's happening in the world now, this is a good event to bring people together. It's nice to see not just Indians, but people of different races coming here," said Mr Master, 44.

tiffanyt@sph.com.sg