An elementary school in North Dakota (USA) reportedly celebrated Holi, Hindu festival of color, on January 31.
According to reports, sixth grader students in Rickard Elementary School in Williston rubbed on face paint and threw paint on each other. This class had been learning about Indian culture for few weeks. Students had fun, reports suggest. Pupils had an Indian lunch also on the occasion.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, applauded Rickard Elementary for creating awareness among students about Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world with a rich philosophy and about one billion adherents. It was a step in the right direction, Zed added.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, urged all North Dakota schools to celebrate major Hindu festivals; like Diwali, Dussehra, Holi, Raksha Bandhan, etc.
Rajan Zed argued that opening-up of culturally diverse North Dakota schoolchildren to major world religions and non-believers’ viewpoint would make them well-nurtured, well-balanced, and enlightened citizens of tomorrow. It also made a good business sense to know the beliefs of “others” in a global community. Moreover, students should have knowledge of the entire society to become full participants in the society, Zed pointed out.
Joie de vivre festival of Holi, which falls on March eight this year, welcomes the beginning of spring and starts about ten days before the full moon of Phalguna. Besides color, the ceremonies include the lighting of the bonfires, during which all evils are symbolically burnt. Holi also commemorates the frolics of youthful Lord Krishna; celebrates the death of demoness Putana, burning of demoness Holika, and destruction of Kama by Shiva. Moksh (liberation) is the ultimate goal of Hinduism.
About 340 students attend this school, which states: Rickard School is a place where everyone feels safe, shows responsibility, and takes pride in creating an enjoyable, respectful learning environment. Keith Leintz is Principal of Rickard Elementary which forms part of Williston Public School District whose “vision” is “Importing Potential, Exporting Excellence”, but none of whose schools made “Adequate Yearly Progress” in 2010-11. Susan Brokaw is President of Williston School Board while Dr. Viola LaFontaine is District Superintendent.