Holi - Festival of Lights - Finds Place in U.S. Congress

Washington, D.C. (March 18, 2010) –The spring festival of Holi, celebrated widely by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists, was marked late Tuesday by U.S. Representative Steve Israel (NY-2), in a speech inserted into the Congressional Record.  The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) lauded Rep. Israel for the speech as colorful Holi celebrations and traditional bonfires continued in community halls and temples throughout the nation.
 
“It [Holi] is a visually stunning event with thousands of people tossing colored powders in the air and using dyed water in an atmosphere where culture, camaraderie and oneness are celebrated,” Rep. Israel said while he thanked the Hindu American Foundation for “educating Americans about Holi and the Hindu faith” and joining them in “recognizing this year’s Festival of Colors.”
 
Three years ago, the Foundation worked to ensure passage of a resolution recognizing another Hindu, Jain, Sikh and Buddhist festival, Diwali, in both the House and Senate.  This latest focus on Holi was a continuation of those efforts.
 
“Congressman Israel has been a longtime member of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans and supporter of our community,” said Nikhil Joshi, cofounder and member of the Board of Directors for the Hindu American Foundation.  “We're grateful for his leadership in giving recognition to the importance of Holi to more than one billion people around the world.  We’re also thankful to his staff member, Seema Bhansali, for her work in ensuring that this special recognition took place.”
 

Text of Congressional Speech on Holi

Celebrating Holi
U.S. Congressman Steve Israel (NY-2)
 
Madam Speaker, I rise today to join the people of India and the Indian Diaspora as they celebrate Holi, the Festival of Colors.
 
Holi is a time when communities come together after a long winter to welcome the spring harvest.  It is a visually stunning event with thousands of people tossing colored powders in the air and using dyed water in an atmosphere where culture, camaraderie and oneness are celebrated. In the evening, community bonfires are lit to signify triumph over divisiveness and negativity. It is one of the largest festivals in the world, with over one billion Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists participating throughout India, Nepal, the United States and many other nations.
 
As a member of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans, I would like to commend the Hindu American Foundation for educating Americans about Holi and the Hindu faith and join them in recognizing this year’s Festival of Colors.
 
Please click here for the congressional record transcript.