The festival, also known as the Festival of Colours, is now celebrated around the world both by Hindu communities and others. It is traditionally a time of personal reflection as well as a jubilant occasion.
For the first time ever, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office hosted a reception to celebrate the Hindu festival of Holi. The reception took place in the historic Durbar Court with over 300 members of the British-Indian and British-Nepalese communities in attendance on Wednesday 8 March.
Durbar Court was decked out with colourful decorations, including models of elephants and peacocks, thanks to Nitin Palan and his team at Neasden Temple. Tony Wong and musicians Ramesh Ladwa and Ajit Chandegra provided traditional music. And the Binal and Kuntal Dance companies provided spectacular dancing.
Mr Sharma and the Indian High Commissioner made speeches and Shrutidharma Das from the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) gave a blessing.
Minister for Asia Alok Sharma MP said:
Holi is a joyful celebration and I would like to send my warmest regards to all the communities in the UK, and around the world, celebrating today.
This is a wonderful time for friends, families and communities to come together and celebrate with traditional bonfires, bright colours, and song. It is a time for personal reflection and a chance to forgive and forget conflicts and strengthen our relationships with those around us.
I wish everyone a happy Holi.
The FCO was pleased to organise the event in partnership with the communities in the UK. Mr Sharma thanked representatives of these organisations, including Nitin Palan from BAPS Neasden Temple; Urvashi Patel and the sound crew from Brahma Kumaris; Harsha Trivedi from the Brahmin Society; Ravi Bhanot from Ilford Vishwa Hindu Parishad Temple; Nilesh Solanki from Event Gurus; Rami Ranger from Sun Mark Ltd; the Binal and Kuntal Dance companies; Tony Wong and musicians Ajit Chandegra and Ramesh Ladwa; and Shrutidharma Das from the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON).