Adherents of the Hindu faith were welcomed at City Hall on March 13 for a Holi celebration co-hosted by Councilwoman Joann Ariola, Speaker Adrienne Adams, and Councilwoman Lynn Schulman. Holi marks the end of winter and the beginning of a new spring, offering a festive way to meet community members.
“Holi is a beautiful celebration of life and love, and it was an honor to be a part of this truly wonderful event,” Ariola said. “Having the opportunity to engage with Hindu culture like this and participate in their dance, music, cuisine, and religion in this way was really something special, and I’m grateful to have helped make this evening happen.”
Schulman said she was honored to co-host the event because she will soon represent Richmond Hill due to redistricting. Richmond Hill has the largest Indo-Caribbean communities in the nation and is the home of the annual Phagwah Parade, which starts at noon on Sunday, March 26. at 133rd Street and Liberty Avenue.
“I appreciate the Hindu community for sharing their culture with the NYC Council,” Schulman told QNS. “The festival celebrates love and new beginnings, just what we need as spring approaches.”
Richmond Hill was a part of Ariola’s 32nd District.
“I want to thank both of our Councilwomen, especially Councilwoman Joann Ariola, for working with our community so much and for bringing the Hindu community into City Hall and into the chambers – it means a lot to us,” said Romeo Hitlall, President of the United American Hindu Leadership Council. “We had a packed house, and I really just want to thank everyone who helped make this possible, from the staff at City Hall to the people who came through the bad weather to show up. It was raining outside, but people took the train, they took taxis, they even chartered buses to be there. This is groundbreaking to be here.”
Proclamations were also handed out to three local organizations – Bhavaane Maa Mandir, Tulsi Mandir, and the United Madrassi Association Inc. – to recognize their contributions to the community.
“This event met our high expectations,” said Naidoo Veerapen, the Treasurer of the United American Hindu Leadership Council. “We wanted a classy event, even if just for an hour, and we achieved that. This is just marvelous. I’ve been to several Holi cultural programs, but this one takes the cake. We want to thank Councilwoman Ariola and Councilwoman Schulman for sponsoring it, supporting us, and making this all possible. We look forward to next year.”
Speaker Adams thanked all of the participants for creating such a memorable event.
“The Council is proud to celebrate Holi, the Hindu festival of colors, in our Chambers at City Hall,” she said. “Hindu New Yorkers contribute so much to our city’s cultural and social fabric. It’s important that we take time to celebrate and uplift the communities that make up our ‘gorgeous mosaic. I thank Council Members Lynn Schulman and Joann Ariola, and all community leaders who helped make our Holi celebration a night to remember.”