A Midsummer’s Dream is one of the largest colour festivals in Canada, and it has been celebrated in Hamilton since 2012.
It is inspired by by the ancient Hindu Festival Holi, a spring festival, also known as the festival of colours or the festival of love. It is an ancient Hindu religious festival which has become popular with non-Hindus in many parts of South Asia, as well as people of other communities outside Asia.
The festival signifies the triumph of good over evil, the arrival of spring, end of winter, and for many people a festive day to meet others, play, laugh, forget, forgive, and repair broken relationships. It is also celebrated as a thanksgiving for a good harvest. The colours signify how all the different people of the world can come together and create something beautiful. It has been known to break down barriers that we have to one another, racial differences, social status differences, and cultural differences.
The festival has many purposes; most prominently, it celebrates the beginning of Spring. In 17th century literature, it is described as a festival that celebrated agriculture, commemorated good spring harvests and the fertile land. Hindus believe it is a time of enjoying spring’s abundant colours and saying farewell to winter. To many Hindus, Holi festivities mark the beginning of the new year as well as an occasion to reset and renew fractured relationships, end conflicts and rid themselves of built up emotional pain from the past.
Holi also has a religious principle, it symbolically signifies the legend of Holika. The night before Holi begins, bonfires are lit in a ceremony known as Holika Dahan (burning of Holika) or Little Holi. People gather near fires to sing and dance. The next day, Holi, also known as Dhuli in Sanskrit, or Dhulheti, Dhulandi or Dhulendi, is celebrated. Children and youth spray coloured powder solutions (gulal) at each other, laugh and celebrate, while adults smear dry coloured powder on each other’s faces. People that visit homes are first teased with colours, then served with Holi delicacies, desserts and drinks. After playing with colours, and cleaning up, people bathe, put on clean clothes, and visit friends and family.
Every 30 minutes we gather in the centre of Gage Park and throw colour together. People get covered in the different hues of A Midsummer’s Dream, all the pink, purples, greens, yellow’s, oranges and blues.
So if you are wondering why we celebrate the Holi tradition here in Hamilton, that is why. It is a beautiful tradition that should be celebrated all over the world, and we are happy to visit to the people of Southern Ontario. We have been working closely with the local Hindu Samaj Temple since 2012.
For more information about Holi, please visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holi