The festival of Holi, which falls on March 8 this year, holds a predominant place in the festive calendar of the diaspora. The vibrant colours of Holi are embraced by British Indians and indeed communities beyond at a time when Spring is the air.
Adding to this festive spirit annually, is the special Holi event organised by Magic of India. It is one of the most popular and among London's most premium social events. This year, the Magic of India: Holi colour dance party takes place on Sunday, March 12, at Swiss Cottage Open Space in London.
"This massive community event, which drew a crowd of more than two thousand people last year, has been described as 'an Indian multicultural spring carnival.' Alike our November Diwali Party, our Holi Party too is for Indians and non-Indians alike," informs Geeta Srivastava, Founder-Director of Magic of India.
This widely celebrated Indian festival of Holi, also known as the Festival of Spring, symbolises the flowering of a new season. The Magic of India's Holi Party coincides with the many cherry blossom trees in and around the Swiss Cottage Open Space being in full splendour. In collaboration with Nicky Ezer and her Camden Events Team, the event draws a large crowd of locals and surrounding Londoners, people of all ages and backgrounds. Everyone is given skin-safe coloured powder as it is the Holi tradition to throw colour on each other.
"We bring the best of traditional Indian performers, Bollywood dancers and drummers. Our DJ crew mixes popular western tunes with Indian Bollywood music to accommodate all tastes. There is a lot of Indian food available too. It is a high-energy and inspirational event as adults and children come together for an afternoon of dancing, colour, and multicultural festivity," Srivastava declared enthusiastically.
"We don't necessarily reach out to any celebrities, but if they feel gratefully that we're doing something that enriches them and their families, they join us. In the past, we have had the privilege of having many celebrities come to the event like Gurinder Chadha, Tej Lalvani, several ministers and dignitaries," she informed.
Talking about celebrity presence at the event, Srivastava hinted at a major surprise this year, which the organisation has decided to keep under wrap at this point.
"However, being mindful of their privacy, I wouldn't want to disclose this year's guest list at this point," she explained.
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In 2013, Srivastava established five Magic of India centres across London for children between three to fifteen years to learn languages Hindi or Gujarati and about Indian culture, believing that "it's important to thrive in your own culture whilst integrating with the country where you live." Magic of India now has over one hundred students, including the children of British celebrities, who are taught online in age-appropriate classes by dedicated teachers.
"When I became a mother, I wanted my daughter, whilst thriving as an English girl, also inherits her Indian tradition. I realised that other Indian parents were experiencing similar feelings, and it wasn't enough to have Bollywood-themed birthday parties or the occasional trips to India! This was when I took the initiative to establish Magic of India in 2013," Srivastava said.
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Originally from Mumbai, Srivastava is based in West Hampstead, London. Winner of the Outstanding British Asian Award, she has worked in advertising and marketing for UK-based mainstream agencies at Zee TV and fashion retailers. She has also set up and led the UK arm of the famous match-making site Shaadi.com
*Info: Magic of India