Phagwah!

Phagwah!

No, these teens are not victims of some senseless bloody attack -- they're celebrating Phagwah, also known as Holi or the Festival of Colors, a Hindu festival commemorating the escape of Prahlad, a devotee of Lord Vishnu, from Hoilka, a demon who carried the lad into a bonfire. She perished while he survived unharmed. Celebrants of this festival -- which falls every year on the full moon in late February or early March -- throw colored powders on each other, and squirt each other with super soakers filled with colored water. Hilarity prevails on every hand. The participants are mainly Caribbeans from Trinidad, Guyana, and Suriname of south Asian heritage.

Phagwah!

A parade commemorates the holiday, with floats representing the Hindu temples of the city. It begins at 133rd Street and Liberty Avenue in Richmond Hill and wends its way to Smokey Oval Park on Atlantic Avenue. In the above float (click to enlarge), a lion head represents Lord Vishnu, and a sign on the side of the cow reads, "Love Your Mother Protect The Cows."

Phagwah!

An employee of Kwality restaurant, one of the rare Indian (as opposed to Indo-Caribbean) restaurants on the Liberty Avenue strip hands free samosas up to the float riders. 


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