Thousands play with colors at Phagwah Parade in Richmond Hill, NY

NYC Mayor Eric Adams, Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar, and others joined the Phagwah Parade in Richmond Hill March 26, 2023. Photo: videograb Twitter @JeniferRajkumar

The Caribbean community held the 35th annual Phagwah celebrations in Richmond Hill, Queens, Sunday, March 26, 2023, with a parade and a picnic on the Liberty Avenue.

Phagwah, or the month of Fagoon when the spring festival of Holi is celebrated, has been a street fair and celebration for the Caribbean community in New York for over three decades.

Phagwah or Holi is a festival of color and joy, and the Phagwah Fair on Liberty Avenue enhances it with traditional Holi songs from Hindi films and folk songs, dancing, and, of course, colors. In keeping with the custom of Holi to apply dry colors to everyone and wish them happiness and joy with a piece of sweet, everyone on Liberty Avenue had color on their faces and clothes.


Thousands of people from New York and New Jersey area gathered, like every year, to watch the parade and to enjoy the picnic in the park, and the Caribbean food from the stalls. People also bought celebratory items such as flags, small trumpet blows, garlands and colors from the street vendors lined on both sides of Liberty Avenue.

People from many cultures and ethnicities joined the thousands celebrating Phagwah in Richmond Hill, NY March 26, 2023. Photo: YouTube videograb @Kin Tsui (

A special feature of the Phagwah celebration in Richmond Hill has been the characteristic welcoming and inclusive culture which makes everyone feel part of the event, making Holi a festival of unity and peace. Participants from other cultures have been a regular feature of the Phagwah celebration.

Attended by many NYC officials, community leaders, visitors and tourists, the parade began with mounted police in the lead, followed by the marching Police Band and the NYPD Desi, special Caribbean Police. Following immediately after the Police Band, was Assembly Woman Jennifer Rajkumar, the first Indian American woman elected to the State Assembly from District 38.

Dressed in Red, with color on her face and hair, Rajkumar sat atop a Red Car, waving to people, talking to some and hugging some. She was heard to say that Red is her favorite color as it is the color of courage.

“I want everyone to know that Holi is celebration of the community. Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers celebrate Holi and they bring such life and beauty to our city,” said Rajkumar.

Rajkumar later tweeted about her experience, saying “I threw the colors of Holi with NYC Mayor today at the Phagwah Parade! We had a blast celebrating with our Guyanese, Trinidadian, Surinamese, Indian and Hindu community. Happy Holi, New York City!”

Other floats in the parade included those from local religious organizations, business organizations and community organizations, including Phagwah Parade NY, Inc., Arya Spiritual Center, United Madrassi Association, Shiv Mandir, Real Auto LLC, and more.



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