Holi, Nokour and Purim in NYC: Multicultural Spring Celebrations

Purim, Holi and Nokour Festivals and Activities in New York City

It may still be a bit chilly and windy, but Spring really is on its way. Lent always kind of marks the coming of better weather for me, but here in New York City there are three more holidays to ring in the upcoming season. You may know Purim--some people call it the Jewish Halloween--but what about celebrating Holi (Paghwah) or Norouz? Get ready for Purim Carnivals, Holi Parades, and a Norouz Family Day extravaganza--all in celebration of Spring and a wonderful way to celebrate the great diversity of our city.

Celebrate Holi in New York City
Holi is the Hindu Spring celebration and is also celebrated in the Caribbean, as well as India. You might recognize it as that holiday when people throw beautiful bright colors on each other in the street. This is part of the Holi Celebration, also known as Paghwah.
One way to celebrate Holi is to go to the largest Paghwah celebration in North America in Richmond Hill, Queens. The parade can draw up to 25,000 people. And there is a festival in Smokey Oval Park afterward where people will be, yes, coloring one another. Again this year, dye and powder are not allowed at the parade, so it sounds possible to be an observer without getting color thrown on you, if you prefer.
The Holi parade and festival takes place on Sunday, March 20, 2011 at Noon. FREE

Celebrate Norouz
Norouz is the Persian New Year (also spelled Nowruz, and Norooz) and celebration of Spring. On April 10, families can join in and celebrate Norouz at the 8th Annual Persian Day Parade. The Persian Parade Organization showcases Persian culture, celebrates this Spring event, and highlights Persian values which are based on Freedom, Hoensty, Tolerance, and Human Rights. There will be music, dancers, and Persian food (that can be purchsed).
The Persian Day Parade takes place on Sunday, April 10, 2011 at Noon (starts at Madison Ave and 38th St.). FREE

Celebrate Purim
Purim is a fun holiday for kids, where they dress up, eat treats and have fun, with a great story featuring a courageous heroine and good old testament bravery, loyalty and justice for a villain who is foiled by his own evil plans. Purim celebrations typically involve a play of the Purim story, eating lots of yummy treats like Hamentaschen, and a carnival-like atmosphere. Kids usually arrive dressed up in costume. There are several Purim celebrations that anyone can enjoy.

Purim Family Carnival at the JCC -Upper West Side
JCC in Manhattan
334 Amsterdam Ave at 76th St.
Sunday, March 13, 2011
FREE (for members and non-members)

Try your hand at carnival games, feast on Purim goodies (available for purchase), and don't forget to dress in your favorite Purim costumes. 

Purim Carnival
-Upper East Side
92 Y
Lexington Ave at 92nd St

Sunday, March 20, 2011
$20 for Adults, $15 for Children (Free under 2)
Make masks, play games, enjoy puppet shows and delicious treats (like hamentashen!), and listen along to Purim storytelling.

Tribeca Kids Celebrate Purim -Tribeca
Synagogue for the Arts
49 White St betw B'way and Church
Saturday, March 19, 2011
Enjoy a very animated storytelling of  Purim, along with a festive carnival. The Carnival begins at 5:45pm, and the performace starts at 6:15pm. After the performace is over, the carnival is back on! Like many of these Purim events, don't forget to come in costume!

Park Slope Jewish Center Purim Celebration--Park Slope, Brooklyn
Park Slope Jewish Center
1320 8th Ave, Brooklyn
The Park Slope Jewish Center has a whole bunch of different Purim celebrations including Megillah readings ("the crazier your costume the better!") on March 19th and 20th, a special kids puppet show and costume parade on the 19th, and a singing and dancing celebration on the morning of the 20th. Check our their flyer for all the details.

Purim in Outerspace -Tribeca
Downtown Community Center
120 Warren St
Sunday, March 20, 2011
This event sounds way cool and is a bit different from the other carnival events. Celebrate Purim by exploring the skies and moonwalking, and of course with a megillah reading, prizes for best costume, and a puppet musical.

Purim Family Concert -Battery Park City
Museum of Jewish Heritage
36 Battery Place
Sunday, March 20, 3:30pm
(Crafts start at 1:30pm, before the show, free with tickets)
$10/adults, $7/children 10 and under
Enjoy some funky Purim music with Hamantaschen Hip Hop with the Mama Doni Band. This rock concert also has costume parade. Kids are encourage to decorate groggers to make crowns for the concert.