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By James Kinneen
Hometown Weekly Reporter
St. Patrick’s Day weekend is essentially a one-color holiday; everywhere you go, people are dressed in green, and those who aren’t are getting pinched for lack of spirit.
But on Saturday afternoon, the Needham Library was full of people wearing all sorts of colors as visitors learned all about Holi, the Hindu festival of colors that begins soon after St. Patrick’s Day.
Led by Aniketa Sarkar, visitors were treated to three different styles of classical Indian dance, Kathak, Bharatnatyam, and Kuchipudi, as well as explanations of what legends inspired the dances. There was also a piano performance from Shoham Sarkar, and a live Rangoli art presentation by Bala Muthukaruppan, which culminated in an original work being donated to the library.
The crowd was sizable enough that the library had to start bringing chairs out of the back room - and despite that, about a dozen people were left standing against the wall.
Those in attendance were informed that Holi, which marks the beginning of spring, is not colorful for color’s sake - rather, every color means something. Using the colors of the rainbow, yellow symbolizes knowledge, white symbolizes purity, red symbolizes love and audaciousness, green represents new beginnings, and blue represents determination.
As well as the colors, every dance represented a story of Indian legend. For example, one of the dances represented the victory of good over evil when a king thought he was stronger than the gods and was defeated by Vishnu.
One of the standout performances was the piano playing of Shoham Sarkar, who played a song that was far different from the traditional Indian music being played throughout, as well as the final performance of the afternoon, which featured all the dancers and the playful throwing of flower petals.
At the end of the afternoon, the audience was left with one final message from Sarkar, the traditional celebratory message: “Holi Hai!”