Holi Celebration in Queens Spreads Awareness of Hindu Community in New York

April 13, 2002

Source: Newsday

On April 13, 2002, Newsday featured an article on the celebration of Holi, the Hindu Festival of Color, at the Shri Lakshmi Narayan Mandir, a Hindu temple in Richmond Hill, Queens, NY. "For the 300 or so New Yorkers who regularly worship at Shri Lakshmi Narayan, Holi is more than a celebration of spring, an occasion for churchgoing and a chance to share their festival with the surrounding communities. Holi - also known as Phagwah or the Festival of Color - reminds them of their roots both in India and the Caribbean... Gyanda 'Eric' Shivnarain, a New York City Democratic political consultant who came to Queens from Guyana 20 years ago, used this year's Holi celebration to bring greater visibility to the city's Hindus - which Shivnarain estimated at 150,000 of Indo-Caribbean descent and 200,000 from India - and honor to his mandir's founder and spiritual leader, Jadonath. At a Holi celebration at City Hall on March 28, Jadonath, the church's pandit, or priest, was recognized with a city council proclamation... Shivnarain has other plans to increase Hindu visibility in the United States. 'We will petition the federal government to recognize Diwali, the Festival of Light, in November, with a postage stamp, and we will also request from the local colleges - Queens College and York College - curriculum on Hinduism,' said Shivnarain, who is the founder and president of the new Caribbean Hindu Society, based in Queens, which promotes Hindu culture and participation in the American political system.".