St Mary's Street
The Indian festival of colours.
HOLI is an Indian cultural festival of colours. It symbolises the onset of spring as well as celebrates the victory of Good over Evil. There are many stories in India around this topic.
It usually takes place in the month of March, by the Indian calendar, in the Indian month of Falgun.
Hindu Society of Bedford have been celebrating this for the past many years, on private grounds. This year, with the help of the Bedford Borough Council and SpectaculArts, we are bringing it to the Bedford Town centre.
The event will take place on the Sunday the 29th March 2020, from 1:30 to 4:30PM. It will be free to public to attend, however, the colours must only be bought from the Hindu Society because they are organic powders. Please see below.
Some FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions):
What will be the venue?
St Mary’s Gardens, St Mary Street, Bedford.
Where should I park?
Parking at Bedford College and the town centre car parks such as River Street are the nearest. They will be open and free on Sunday.
How is Holi celebrated?
In India, the event starts with the stories being told to children about Holi. This is then followed by the burning of a ritual fire. After this, colour powders are applied (or sprayed) on each others: family and friends. Everyone becomes a friend. Old tensions are forgotten and forgiven. People do not harbour grudge or ill-will and good-will prevails.
What will happen at the Bedford event?
People are encouraged to start gathering at venue (St. Mary’s Gardens) from 1.30. AT 2 PM, there will be a drum roll (dhol) to bring attention to the start of the event. You will hear some stories about Holi by way of the background. This will be followed up by lighting of the sacred Holy fire. There will be blowing of conch-shells. The fire is worshipped by going around it a few times in an orderly manner. After this, the fun with colours begins.
What are the colours?
The organisers will provide, for a small charge, organic colour powders. These are washable and not harmful to the skin. However, if you are concerned on this point, you may wish to stay away from the colours.
The colours must only be obtained from the organisers. Pre-order your colours. These will be given to you at the event. Colour powers, if purchased elsewhere will not be allowed for health and safety reasons, as they may be corrosive or fast and non-washable.
How do I pre-order the colours?
You should buy these from EventBrite. First, you need to register your interest for the event at EventBrite.
What should I wear?
Colour powders will fall on your clothes therefore we recommend that you do not wear expensive clothes. Wear the clothes that you do not mind getting messy. The colours are washable and will come off.
Should I bring a change of clothes?
It is not a bad idea, however, we are not able to provide changing areas. You should consider keeping some old towels and bin-bags in the car to protect car seats.
I am going shopping after this, how can I get the colour off my face?
We suggest that you keep some wet-wipes and perhaps some bottled water to remove some of the colour.
What about the dangers of the fire?
The fire will be contained in a metal drum and is not allowed to spread. There will be a cordon around the fire and people are requested to stay out of the cordon.
The river is near by, what about the dangers of the river?
There will be another, an outer cordon, which indicates that the public should not approach the river. You are requested to be mindful of your own safety and the safety of the children that accompany you. Parents are responsible for the safety and behaviour of their children.
Will there be any food and drinks?
There will be food stall(s) where food and drinks will be available to purchase for a reasonable price.
What do I do when I arrive at the venue?
There will be a Registration Desk. Here, you register yourself and collect your pre-ordered colour packs. Then enjoy.
I do not like the idea of getting colours on me, can I still come?
Yes, there will be a “Spectators only” zone, you can stay in it and observe and enjoy. However, the fun is in taking part in this unique cultural / social event. Our previous experience and feed-back is that all people really thoroughly enjoy taking part. Children really enjoy it.
What is the point of this event?
Bedford is a multi-cultural town with a large number different and very diverse cultures. The purpose of such an event is to make other cultures understand each others and enjoy living with each others in a peaceful and harmonious manner.
Hope you will enjoy this unique event. As far as we know, this has not been done elsewhere, in other towns.
Bedford Hindu Society and SpectaculArts