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Parade of colored powder welcomes spring

It was a burst of color on an otherwise gray day.

The 20th annual Phagwah Parade drew about 200,000 – as well as Mayor Michael Bloomberg — as they danced down the streets of Richmond Hill to Rizzuto Park, where they tossed colored powder at one another, on Sunday, March 15 – the Sunday after the first full moon on the Hindu calendar.

The parade, which celebrates the Indo-Caribbean festival of colors, or Holi, had food, music – even floats – as generations of young and old welcomed spring and the triumph of truth over evil – and got downright colorful.

“It was well planned,” said Herman Singh, one of the organizers. “A lot of hard work and preparation [went into the parade.] And we had good weather, so people came out.”

After marching, participants gathered at Phil “Scooter” Rizzuto Park at 125th Street, where the fun continued and the colors flew.

Keshen, 2, who was there for the first time with his parents, was “having a lot of fun,” said his dad. His hands were an electric pink and his eyes sparkled as he turned this Courier reporter the same shade.

Others were blue, yellow, green, red, purple – or a combination.

Narayan, whose name means “God,” traveled from Dix Hills, Long Island to be part of the festivities.

He and his group have been going for the last 20 years, and they all said they “hope to be here for the next 10 years.”

“It went very well, everyone was happy,” said Captain Jim Kimmel, Executive Officer of the 106th Precinct. He noted that there were no major incidents. There were no arrests, according to the NYPD.

Click here for a photo gallery of the 20th annual Phagwah Parade.

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