Holi in Hoboken, credit P. Martin

By Rimli Roy

Hoboken, NJ, June 17, 2019 – More than 12,000 revelers spent much of last Saturday in Hoboken’s Pier A Park to celebrate Holi, India’s ‘festival of colors’. The event was organized by Surati and dubbed Surati Holi Hai. The group’s officers indicated that they wanted to promote peace, equality and unity through cultural diversity at this event. This celebration took place in Hoboken for the first time ever.

The celebrants engaged in color play, held live performances on three stages, had interactive art, tasted street food and drinks, had a children’s zone, were entertained a disc jockey, and danced in merriment from 10 am to 8 pm. The festivities began at Jersey City Hall with what was called the Hudson River Fitness Color WalkAttendees enjoyed live music, and attended yoga and dance workshops by various health professionals and organizations.

The participants also smeared one another with colors at the start of the walk, participated in a ‘color countdown’ and made their way along the Hudson waterfront with a live dhol (drum beats) and Surati’s bhangra team. More than 150 people registered for the walk, but thousands more joined the festival throughout the day.

Hoboken Mayor Ravinder Bhalla and neighboring Jersey City Mayor Steven Fullop attended this event, and bestowed their blessings on the merrymakers at event, and urged residents to support diversity and inclusion.

“What I love about our festival is that it is attended by all, irrespective of their cultural backgrounds or nationalities, thus spreading the message of love, brotherhood, acceptance and peace,” said Rimli Roy, founder and artistic director of Surati Performing Arts. “By promoting the arts and culture of India, Surati Holi Hai is growing to become the tri-state’s most talked-about, meaningful and unique celebration of the Indian festival of colors.

Holi in Hoboken, credit P. Martin

“New Jersey City University (NJCU) is delighted to be a sponsor of Surati Holi Hai this year. The annual festival of colors is a tradition that aligns with the University’s mission of celebrating unity and inclusiveness. With more than 60 languages spoken on campus, our diversity is our strength, and we are thrilled to participate in this vibrant expression of Indian culture, now shared with communities across the globe,” said NJCU president Dr. Sue Henderson.

“When everyone is colorful, no one is different,” states Surati’s motto, celebrating equality and brotherhood across boundaries. Surati Holi Hai attracted more than 12,000 people in 2018 from 22 U.S states and six countries around the world. It is possibly the United States’ and particularly the East Coast’s, most popular family-friendly cultural festival.


Surati is a 501(c) non-profit organization that showcases and promotes dance, music, theater, festivals and stories rooted in India with traditional / modern genres from around the world. Surati’s mission is to educate and enrich communities globally in the diverse cultural heritage of India through performances, educational projects, classes, events, workshops and lecture-demonstrations. For more information about us, please visit www.suratiholihai.com