Had enough of the long, gray winter? Looking forward to the arrival of spring?
The Long Island Children’s Museum will introduce visitors to a holiday focused on welcoming spring and all of its beautiful colors at its Celebrate Holi Festival on Sunday, March 24, from 12 to 5 p.m.
This festive holiday, which originated in India, is devoted to celebrating the arrival of spring, meeting others, enjoying play and laughter, and forgiving and forgetting.
“Offering cultural programs like Celebrate Holi enables the museum to serve as an invitation to the community,” says Aimee Terzulli, director of Education & Visitor Experience at LICM. “It provides a vibrant learning experience that creates connections across cultures.”
This particular holiday felt like a perfect fit for the museum’s programming. “Holi is a bright, colorful, hands-on family holiday,” Terzulli adds. “What could match more perfectly with the Children’s Museum?”
This special event provides the opportunity for families unfamiliar with Holi to learn about this exuberant holiday alongside those who celebrate annually. Visitors will learn why the holiday is known as the “festival of colors” as they take part in the tossing of colored powders made from flowers (known as gulal) on each other. This activity creates a human mosaic, representing all the colors seen in spring. The museum will set aside a specific room for this activity.
Other visitor activities include:
• Performances of classical and folk dances by Srijan Dance Company, based on
mythological Indian stories from particular eras and geographic regions
• Painting an 8-foot papier-mâché elephant — visitors will be greeted by this symbol as they enter the museum on the day of the Holi Festival. Children and families will add adornment to the elephant throughout the afternoon.
• Designing Holi bracelets — During Holi, women wear colorful bands wrapped around their wrists symbolizing good fortune, health and energy. Visitors will create bracelets to wear during the festival or to give as gifts.
• Creating Prahlāda masks — Children will learn about Prahlāda, the young hero of Holi myths, and his triumph of good over evil.
• Tasting Holiday Foods — Visitors can sample sweet and savory pastries, kanji juice made from fermented carrots and mustard seed, and other traditional foods enjoyed during Holi.
• Traditional Holi Clothing Exhibit — Photos of Holi Festivals and costumes from different parts of India (including Rajasthan, Bengal, Kashmir, Punjab and Tamil Nadu) will be on display at the Children’s Museum.
Central to the Children’s Museum’s mission is its role as a community gathering place, where all families can learn about the cultural traditions of each other in an educational, inclusive space. LICM’s programming reflects the changing demographics of the region to ensure that all neighbors feel welcome and represented.
The museum has hosted a variety of cultural festivals over the years, including Diwali, a Vietnamese Mid-Autumn Festival, a celebration of Korean culture and a Native American cranberry harvest. All activities and performances at the Holi Festival are include with museum admission.
Celebrate Holi is free with museum admission and made possible with the support of the Guru Krupa Foundation (www.guru-krupa.org/).
The Long Island Children’s Museum is located at 11 Davis Ave. in Garden City. For more information, go to www.licm.org.