By Jinal Shah
A little pink, a little purple, a little yellow and a lot of green, that will be the riot of colors formed when Irish St Patrick's day and Indian festival of colors are celebrated together on board a cruise on March 17.
As part of their fifth anniversary celebrations, organizers of 'Rang Barse' (New York's most famous Holi event) are all set to set sail on the Hudson river.
St Patrick's Day and Holi are very different events celebrated thousands of miles apart. If one is a celebration of good over evil, the other is for the arrival of Christianity in Ireland but what both have in common is the spirit of celebration and feasting. "Holi is all about new beginnings by welcoming spring with a colorful spring in your step and St Patrick's day is also a day of celebration feasting for Irish people and what better way to celebrate the two with a riot of colors and Bollywood music," said Rohika Hardas, director of IN Group, an event management company. For the past four years in association with South Street Seaport, IN group, has been organizing a Rang Barse party aboard the 377-foot Peking ship docked at Pier 16. "In this fifth year, we are celebrating Holi by setting sail for a cruise around New York," said Hardas.
"In our first year of organizing the event, we saw a lot of Indians; however, in subsequent years, much to our surprise, we saw a lot of Americans taking part in the fete and this year too the trend continues with inclusion of Irish Americans," she said adding, "We have a large group of 45 Irish American enthusiasts who will celebrate St Patrick's Day (which falls on March 17) on board the cruise with Bollywood music and food along with colors. This according to me is the true spirit of New York."
The celebration includes cocktails, dancing to the South Asian fusion tunes and Bollywood dance performance by the Dhoonya Dance group, unlimited colored powder for partyers to pelt others with, and food to refuel. Individual tickets are $80 apiece, but there are group special discounts.
"The idea of celebrating Holi aboard a cruise is amazing, something that has never happened in India despite the widespread celebration. But it is way too expensive for me as a student," said Rahul Pareikh, a student living in Jersey city.
The cruise that will sail for about three hours from noon on March 17 will host about 550 guests.
Update: 12 March, 2012