Dix Hills celebrated Holi, the festival of color, at the Half Hollow Hills Community Library. NewsdayTV's Drew Scott reports. Credit: Newsday/Kendall Rodriguez

Spring was ushered in with a kaleidoscope of colors at a Holi festival in Dix Hills Saturday.

The lawn at Half Hollow Hills Community Library was the canvas for the annual Hindu festival that celebrates the triumph of good over evil and the arrival of spring.

“Holi is a day for you to let go of past grudges,” said Puja Malhotra, 41, of Dix Hills. Malhotra is a member of the Half Hollow Hills PTA diversity committee, which has partnered with the library to host the festival since 2019.

The holiday has origins in Hindu mythology and is typically celebrated in March in India, Nepal and other South Asian countries. The celebration in Dix Hills was delayed in hope of warmer weather.

Pops of bright purple, turquoise, neon pink and orange helped brighten up a chilly, gray day amid sprinkles of rain.

Shrieks and laughter filled the air as more than 150 children and families doused one another with colorful powders, exclaiming “Happy Holi!”

“It’s messy, fun and chaotic,” said 15-year-old Saumya Mukhi, a sophomore at Half Hollow Hills High School West.

Mukhi said her favorite part of Holi festivities is reconnecting with family and learning traditions from India, where her parents grew up.

“If our parents or grandparents didn’t teach us about India — the traditions, religion, the language — we wouldn’t know any of it,” she said. “It’s really important to keep our culture with us and pass it down to our own kids as well.”

Ruhani Oberoi, 8, of Plainview, said Holi is “a lot of fun” because of all the colors. “The best part was throwing colors on Tej,” she said, laughing at her cousin nearby, covered from head to toe.

Saturday’s event began with stories for children about the origins of Holi, and included Hindi music and mango juice.

The powders used Saturday were a washable concoction of cornstarch and food coloring. Malhotra said in India, flower petals are traditionally ground into fine, vibrant dust.

The partnership between the PTA and library is a way to build bridges across cultures.

Head children’s librarian Erik Schmid gleefully flung colors into the crowd and said he was moved by how the festival represents friendship.

Jaideep Oberoi, left, throws color on his daughter Sahiba Oberoi,...

Jaideep Oberoi, left, throws color on his daughter Sahiba Oberoi, 6, at the Holi Festival of Colors at Half Hollow Hills Community Library in Dix Hills Saturday. Credit: Morgan Campbell

“The community is super diverse in Dix Hills and it's nice to celebrate our differences,” he said. “Libraries have become more like community centers over time.”

Vanish Grover came out from Brooklyn to celebrate with his family and nieces, who are 6 and 9. He was happy to see the tradition shared with the broader community. “It’s great that the library makes a space for it, and I love that we’re doing Indian traditions with my nieces,” Grover, 35, said.

Grover’s mother, Veena, also joined in the fun, traveling to the library from Bellerose, Queens. She said Holi is a time for new beginnings.

“If anybody did anything bad to you, let it go and start new,” Veena Grover, 62, said. “Let the tension go.”

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