Region 8 Celebrates Holi

March 6, 2004 -- Posted at 4:49 p.m. CST

JONESBORO -- The celebration of Holi is an ancient Indian tradition, and while it originates from the Northern part of India, it is a Hindu you might be surprised to see a celebration here in Region 8.

Pradeep Mishra is covered in red and white powdered dye. He says it's all just part of celebrating Holi.

"During this day, all the rich, poor, everyone comes from all the same platform and they put the color on each other, hug each other and enjoy life. This is the one day that no one is up and down, everybody is on the same platform," said Misra.

Folks greet each other with dye that symbolizes friendship and equality....and the more your wearing, the better off you are!

The red dye that folks use here in Jonesboro is fortunately not staining and is easily removable with a little soap and water. But in India, the dye they use to celebrate good over evil is often oil based and will last up to a week, if not longer, on your skin.

Host Sunil Gera said, "Basically, there are so many traditions to it, but only one message, which is that everybody is one, all those different animosities they are gone and they are all one and they hug each other."

Holi party hosts Sunil and Anita Gera wanted to do something to show their children the customs that they grew up with. So they decided to throw a Holi party, and ended up with more than 70 folks to help them celebrate. People all over Region 8 from as far away as India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

"I just wanted to do something where everybody can get together. Our kids, they've never seen this festival since they've never been to India. So, I just wanted all these guys to see what we do back home. Basically, my purpose was that all the kids should know what the tradition is," said Anita Gera.

For little ones, learning the tradition also means some spicy food, music and customary dance.

"I'm very excited to do this because I hear about this from my parents, when we were little we used to do this and we were never able to experience it. It's really hard to go back home during school and everything. So I think it's great that we're living abroad from home and we can still bring our tradition here and keep it alive, and share it with everybody else who hasn't seen it either," said Sonali Gera, who was celebrating her first Holi Celebration.