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First ever Holi celebrations in Parliament complex in Ottawa

   For the first time ever, Holi was celebrated at the Parliament complex in Ottawa today evening, at the initiative of Member of Parliament Chandra Arya, with the support of the High Commission of India. Mr. Arya who hails from Karnataka is a Liberal MP from Napean (Ottawa).

   Despite inclement weather over 300 persons showed up for the event including a number of Parliamentarians, Indo-Canadian community leaders and members of the diplomatic corps. Every attendee was adorned with Holi colours (gulal) upon entering the venue, which was tastefully decorated with Indian motifs and Holi visuals.

   The evening began with a peace-incantation by the Hindu priest of the local Durga temple. Welcome remarks by Mr. Chandra Aryafollowed. A message from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was read out by Member of Parliament from Brampton (Toronto) Mr. Ramesh Sangha. Earlier in the day PM Trudeau in a press statement (http://pm.gc.ca/eng/news/2016/03/23/statement-prime-minister-canada-holi) observed that Holi was 'an opportunity to renew friendships and celebrate peace, but it is also a time to reflect on traditional notions of good and evil, and the ultimate triumph of light over darkness. It is a festival that is celebrated by Hindus and non-Hindus alike across Canada, South Asia, and around the world".

   Minister of Heritage Hon'ble Melanie Joly expressed her joy at attending the 'Festival of Colours' and commended the contribution of the Indo-Canadian community in enriching the socio-economic vitality of multi-cultural Canada. In his address High Commission of India Vishnu Prakash, described Holi as a unique festival of friendship, harmony, joy and brotherhood that was celebrated by 1.3 billion Indians, regardless of age, gender, creed or religion. It was befitting that Canada, itself a land of great diversity, had begun to observe the festival with enthusiasm.

   The evening's highlight was a beautiful dance-drama on the origin of Holi by the 'Darpan Performing Arts' group, which was enjoyed by everyone. A reception followed at which guests could savour Indian food and mingle around.

Ottawa
24 March 2016



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