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Celebrants 'hue' to tradition for Hindu festival

Holi marks the coming of spring and the triumph of good over evil with the jubilant hurling of colored powders and colored waters. In Pacific Palisades, a beach turns into a kaleidoscope.

Skies were gray Saturday, but along the sand at Will Rogers State Beach there was an explosion of colors � magenta, green, blue and purple � as more than a hundred people gathered for Holi, a Hindu festival of colors.

The ancient tradition is among the most widely observed in India, where each year it marks the coming of spring and the triumph of good over evil with the jubilant hurling of colored powders and colored waters.


In Pacific Palisades, celebrants turned a section of the beach into a kaleidoscope of hues as couples, wives and children gave chase and smeared one another with gulal, a powder made especially for the occasion.

On Holi, enemies set aside conflicts to become friends, and the rich and poor become one, said Sangeeta Singh, who helped organize the beach event for the Assn. for India's Development, a volunteer group that raises money for India.

"No matter what, you will greet each other on Holi and wish one another well," Singh said.

But out on the sand, greetings were just the start as friends and families tried to outdo one another with colorful dust. Some tumbled to the ground in defense. Others reached for cups of ocean water to take revenge. All the while, a disc jockey hollered from a microphone and played songs with the word "Holi" in them.

Jeanelle Ibarlucea, a 19-year-old half-Russian, half-Mexican nursing student, was among the first to show up with a group of international students from Pierce College.

"We brought people from Sri Lanka, Nepal, Uganda, Mexico and the Philippines," she proudly announced during a break. She and her friends were not sure of the significance of the tradition.

"But it's too much fun to miss," she said.

Some Indian families, missing the ritual of their homeland, traveled from as far as Arizona and San Diego to take part.

Mehak Mittal came with her husband, Varun, from Reseda. This was the first time the 24-year-old dentist had spent Holi away from her native Punjab, where the streets overflow for the holiday. Her hair and face were plastered with neon orange.

"At home we were surrounded by family and friends," Mittal said. "Here we are surrounded by strangers, but still, the feeling is the same."

Credit : Los Angeles Times
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