Holi has been celebrated in Indian since time immemorial but its popularity seems to be rising each year, especially among young people.  So it was doubly fitting that the auditorium of Birmingham Groves High School rang with bright, youthful Gujarti voices singing both the American and the Indian national anthems as they kicked off 2008’s Holi celebration on April 5.

As in no other festival, Holi gives liberty to Indians to let down their hair and celebrate their wild sides.  Following the anthems and a welcome by Darshan Parikh, 2008’s President of the Executive Committee Asish Tikiwala made program introductions, then the fun began.  Even the youngest children, in full traditional costume, participated in the folk dances choreographed by Lisa Sheth, Neha Pael, Purvi Shah and a host of others.  The emcees, which included members of Detroit’s Gujarati community, kept things moving along swiftly with a blend of humor and high-energy excitement.  Classical dances and a Desi mix of Bollywood songs had the crowd cheering, and many of the musical selections hailed from current pop tunes known as widely here as in India.

Gujarati Samaj of Detroit, also known as GSOD, was founded in 1975 and has become an icon in Michigan’s Indian community. One of the largest ethnic cultural organizations in the Midwest, the GSOD was created as a unifying force for Gujarati people to gather under one roof and to promote and preserve the culture, heritage, language, social and cultural awareness and respect of Gujarat.

As the Visionalist crew learned, Detroit’s Gujarati population hails from the Western Indian state of Gujarat, an industrialized coastal area also known its fairs and Festivals. Thousands of small and big fairs and festivals are celebrated in different parts of Gujarat every year, mostly based on the lunar or solar calendar. Whether the festival is religious, social or related to agricultural, the people of Gujarat enjoy them with the same fervor. Many of the festivals are linked with myths and traditions.  Beside Holi, which we had a chance to experience at the Hindu Temple of Canton, is one of many festivals that the Gujarati love, which in India include Diwali, Janmashtami, Holi, the Tarnetar fair and the Modhera Dance festival.





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