STATEMENT BY THE PRIME MINISTER OF CANADA TO MARK THE CELEBRATION OF HOLI

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement to mark the celebration of Holi:

“Laureen and I would like to extend our best wishes to all those celebrating the Hindu spring festival of Holi, both in Canada and around the world.

“Originally celebrated as an agricultural festival in India hundreds of years ago to mark the end of winter and the beginning of spring, Holi brings together family and friends to celebrate peace and friendship, and look forward to new beginnings with optimism and joy.

“Holi, also known as the Festival of Colours, is celebrated with many ancient festive traditions that include lighting of bonfires on the festival eve; singing, dancing and gift-giving; sharing of festive meals; and throwing bright-coloured powder and water dyes onto one another to celebrate and welcome spring.

“This festival serves as an opportunity for all Canadians to reflect on the tremendous contributions of Canada’s dynamic Hindu community to building a peaceful, pluralistic and prosperous country, and to learn more about Hindu culture and traditions.

“On behalf of all Canadians, I wish everyone celebrating a happy, fun-filled and colourful Holi.”