SCFI FestivalsSociety for the Confluence of Festivals in India

Holi in South Africa

Indians wherever they may be, takes immense delight in celebrating the festival of Holi and South Africa is no exception. The vibrant Gujarati's and other Indians settled in South Africa have made it a point to keep the tradition of celebrating Holi alive in the country. They play colours, light bonfires called Holika, sing Holi songs and make merry. The evenings are spent in meeting friends and relatives and exchanging greetings and sweets.

People believe that it is becoming all the more important to keep the ancient customs alive in this conflict ridden society. The festival of Holi is vital in this aspect as it is believed that Holi helps people to get closer. It generates warmth in relationships and even enemies turns friends in the spirit of Holi.

It may be noted that South Africa is located at the southern tip of the continent of Africa. It had the largest immigrant Indian community in the world a decade prior to the colonization by the United States of America. Indians account of almost one million in the country. Most of them are concentrated in the eastern regions of Natal and Transvaal of the country. About 65% are Hindus, 15% Muslims and 20% of Christians live in this area. Due to the majority of the Hindu population, a number of Hindu festivals are celebrated here. Most of the Hindus here are from Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu and continue to follow their regional variations of Hinduism.

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