image - Holi

Purvi Jejurkar of the Pagrav Dance Studio in Belmont, traveled to the coast to share the story of Holi and the Festival of Colors with Coastsiders. Photo courtesy Purvi Jejurkar

Over the weekend, Half Moon Bay residents had the opportunity to celebrate Holi, an ancient Hindu festival that is also known as the Festival of Spring or the Festival of Colors. 

Purvi Jejurkar, who is the artistic director at Pagrav Dance Studio in Belmont, traveled to the coast to share her knowledge while shining the spotlight on Bharatanatyam dance. 

“We were at the library in the morning. We were so happy to see so many engaged kids at the library in spite of the beautiful day outside,” said Jejurkar. 

Jejurkar opened the showcase by educating participants about Holi’s history, including why it was celebrated as well as the festival’s modern-day significance. 

“We talked about how Holi is an Indian festival, a festival of colors that celebrates the onslaught of spring, the fragrance of flowers, as well as happiness and warmth,” said Jejurkar. “It also celebrates the victory of good over evil. 

“One of the stories I share is that of the evil king named Hiranyakashipu,” she continued. “He’s destroyed by his own son, who is a devotee of the god, Vishnu.”  

Jejurkar and others also performed music. There was singing as well as poetry and Bharatanatyam dance. 

“Bharatanatyam is a very graceful Indian dance that is 2000 years old,” she said. “If you go to temples in Southern India, you will see poses, which are part of the dance. Back then, it was danced as a form of worship to the gods. 

“The dance is all about balance that encompasses different poses and intricate footwork inspired by Indian sculptures,” she continued. “Bharatanatyam dancers spend about the first three years learning basic steps before learning intricate choreography. 

“As a mom of two middle schoolers and a biotech professional, it’s helped me master my time management skills, both my work and professional life.” 

Many were intrigued by the dance. 

“We saw that some of the kids were coming up to us, trying to dance, and trying to imitate what we were doing,” she said. “As a performer, it just lifts your spirits. After the performance, a few members came up to us and asked us questions about Holi.” 

Jejurkar feels that it is critical to educate children on the importance of Holi. 

“There’s no better time to talk about the background of this festival with our community,” she said. 

“The Festival of Colors is a fun way to celebrate Holi while connecting with the members of the community. 

“I feel that giving a little bit of knowledge to our children who are young and are not really immersed in the culture is a great way of sharing the background and history of the festival,” she said.

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