“Holi hai, rang barse.” “It’s Holi, the colors are showering.” These lyrics from a popular Hindi song sung during the springtime festival of Holi in India will soon be heard in Irvine.

On Saturday, April 8, organizers from various community groups, including Gujaratis of North America and United American Indian Association, will host the Indian Spring Festival in Irvine’s Mike Ward Community Park. Around 1,000 people are expected at the event, also hosted by Irvine Councilmember Mike Carroll.

“Usually when we do a celebration, it’s either the North Indian community getting together or the South Indian community getting together,” said Varun Gandhi, a volunteer with Gujaratis of North America. “In this case, we said why not combine the various festivals that are going on at this time and bring people together from all over India.”

Springtime in particular, Gandhi said, is an auspicious time in India when farmers plant the seeds for their crops, but also await to reap the harvest of the old year.

Saturday’s event will see the celebration of seven springtime Indian festivals: Holi, Baisakhi (also pronounced Vaisakhi), Bihu, Vishu, Poila Boishak, Ugadi and Puthandu.

At Holi, or the Festival of Colors, revelers dress in white clothing and throw “gulal” or colored water at each other, celebrating the victory of good over evil and the arrival of spring.

Gaurav Bhargava, the president of the United American Indian Association, said Holi in India is one big party with food, dance and song, where celebrations last at least three days.

Galley Millo, Dushmani Chhodo, forget all the enmity, just give a hug and be friends again,” Bhargava said. “The most important part of this message that we learned from childhood: If you have a friend and you have a misunderstanding with a friend, just give them a hug on Holi and everything just disappears.”

The harvest festival of Vaisakhi, usually celebrated on April 13 or 14 each year, is typically celebrated in the Punjab region of India and is of significance to those of the Sikh faith, as the day commemorates the birth of Sikhism.

Bihu hails the advent of the Assamese New Year (Assam is a north-eastern state in India); Vishu, mostly celebrated by those in the southern states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, marks a vernal equinox, where the day and night are of equal length; Poila Boishak is the first day of the Bengali calendar; Ugadi marks the first day of the new year in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka; and Puthandu is the Tamilian New Year.

Long time Irvine resident Jyoti Kumar, who has been helping organize the cultural performances for Saturday’s festival, said the different Indian cultures and traditions from the various states will be on full display at the Indian Spring Festival.

“We want to maintain the culture, the Indian culture. It’s really important for us and then it’s important for our future generations,” Kumar said. “We really want the upcoming generation to know the culture and to appreciate it and to start embracing it in their life.”

Music at Saturday’s event will be courtesy of DJ Kush, a 20-year-old who was born and raised in Irvine. And food booths will serve vegetarian dishes from different regions in India.

Irvine playing host to the celebrations is significant, Bhargava said, given the city is home to a large Indian population of about 9,000 people.

The Indian Spring Festival will take place at Mike Ward Community Park, 20 Lake Road, from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 8. Tickets are $10. More information can be found on Eventbrite.

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