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Holi in Māngere

I filmed this video several weeks ago in my neighbour’s garage.  I had never actually met them until I heard some very interesting music coming from over the fence and I decided to go over and introduce myself.  They invited me to stay and drink some kava.  I obliged and was able to observe their performance for several hours.

It’s interesting really, seeing an Indian holiday mixed with a Polynesian/Melanesian tradition such as kava drinking.  Holi originated in India and then came to Fiji with Indian sugar plantation workers that were brought to the islands by the British in the 1800’s.  In Fiji, the workers mixed various elements Melanesian life with their traditions from the old country.  Now as their descendants leave Fiji for other parts of the world, such as New Zealand, their blended traditions and languages go with them.

I know that there is so much more to this festival, but instead of transplanting information from wikipedia onto this post, I am going to end with what one of the elders told me on the evening:  Holi is about leaving the past behind and moving towards the future.  If you have a personal issue with another individual, then Holi is the time to put those problems to rest for good.

Then you sing songs and drink kava with your friends.

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