by Anna Gustafson, senior editor
More than 20,000 people ushered in the unofficial beginning of spring at the Phagwah parade in Richmond Hill on Sunday, when revelers celebrated the event by dousing everyone in sight with brightly colored powder.
The 24th annual event marking the Hindu holiday, which is also known as Holi, included a parade that began at Liberty Avenue and 133rd Street and ended at Smokey Oval Park in Richmond Hill. There were floats, dancers, musicians, and individuals who dressed up as Hindu gods by donning elaborate costumes that often included swaths of multi-colored fabric, face paint and numerous jewels.
The celebration in Richmond Hill, where there is a populous South Asian community, is one of the largest in the country, annually drawing tens of thousands of people to Queens.
Holi is celebrated on the last day in which there is a full moon during Phalguna, a month in the Hindu calendar that typically falls in February or March.
Among those attending the event were state Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach), Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Ozone Park), Council members Ruben Wills (D-Jamaica), Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village), and Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) and Community Board 10 Chairwoman Betty Braton.
Another couple representing the god of love and his bride are decked out in splashes of color.
A man representing Kamadeva, or the god of love, and his bride wore intricate costumes and jewelry that wowed the crowd.
Many of those who participated in the parade wore bright colors to signify the coming of spring.
Members of the United Community of Mandir in Jamaica walk in the parade that drew tens of thousands of people from around the country to Richmond Hill.
Many of those celebrating Holi were children happy to turn a little more colorful than usual.
Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley was covered in pink by the day’s end.
The colorful Shri Surya Narayan Mandir float passes by.
Dancer entertains the crowd.
Democratic District Leader Albert Baldeo, left, Community Board 10 Chairwoman Betty Braton, state Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr., center, Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder, and Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. lead the way at Sunday’s parade.
Dancers entertain the crowd at Smokey Oval Park.
Amrita Nectar, left, and Anesa Toolsee were quickly covered in colorful paint.