Dr. Kumar Mahabir
TRINIDAD, March 30, 2013 (by Dr. Kumar Mahabir): For the first time in multi-ethnic Trinidad and Tobago, three religious festivals will be celebrated this weekend: Spiritual Baptist Liberation Day, Easter and Phagwa. Phagwa or Holi is the Festival of Spring in India, but it is the Festival of Harvest in Trinidad. In both India and Trinidad, Phagwa is known as the Festival of Color in which people play with pigment in all its forms. They squirt abeer [coloured liquid] and smear gulal [coloured powder] on each other amidst music, song and dance. On the eve of the celebration, a huge bonfire is lit symbolising the destruction of the demoness, Holika. Special songs such as chowtals are rendered, accompanied by two major instruments - the dholak [small hand drum] andmajeera [small cymbals]. This musical genre is a mix of Hindi and English ballads invented mainly as a response to the derogatory calypsos about Hindus, and Indian in general, sung during Carnival. The Kendra has also introduced Makhan Chor, a sport which was the pastime of Lord Krishna when he was alive in India 5,000 years ago. In this game, a human pyramid is formed with the strongest person at the bottom and the lightest at the top. The objective of the game is to reach a pot tied 18 feet above the ground. The Kendra has also introduced Ranga Barase [community dance in a shower of colors] and Bachon Ka Khel [exciting novelty games for children].