A COLOURFUL, musical occasion is planned to celebrate the Holi Festival in Durham next month.

Also known as the Indian Spring Festival or the Festival of Colours, Holi signifies the end of winter, the arrival of spring and the blossoming of love.

It is observed by Hindus, Sikhs and some members of other religions.

Durham University’s Oriental Museum has, for several years, marked the festival by inviting visitors to throw brightly coloured powder over friends and relatives, in a good-natured representation of the victory of good over evil.

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Charlotte Spink, access and community engagement officer at Durham University Museums, who is organising the event, said: “The Holi celebrations at the Oriental Museum are always very popular and great fun. We’re very pleased to have Indian students and members of the local Indian community involved in organising the event and we hope to see many people visiting and celebrating the symbolic arrival of spring, however the weather turns out.”

This year’s event will take place on Saturday, March 14 from noon to 5pm. There will also be craft activities, storytelling, music, traditional rangoli drawing, refreshments and more.

Places must be booked via eventbrite.co.uk. Tickets are £4 per person, or free for children under five. The ticket also includes entry to the Oriental Museum on the day.

Ticketholders will receive one bag of environmentally friendly Holi powder in a range of colours. Additional bags will be available to purchase on the day.

In advance of that, the Durham University concert series MUSICON is staging a weekend-long celebration of Holi, titled Indian Spring Colours, which will feature three performances of Indian music.

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On Saturday, February 29, Apoorva Gokhale will showcase the Gwalior gharana tradition of Indian classical music with a talk from 6.45pm and concert at 7.30pm.

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The following day there will be a family-friendly concert at 11am, featuring Chiranjeeb Chakraborty, one of the top ranking Indian classical vocalists in Europe. This is preceded by a rare opportunity to hear a duet for harmonium and table by Seema and Vishwanath Shirodkar, also known as Swar-Taal Samvaad (which means ‘Conversation between melody and rhythm’), who are visiting the UK from India specially for the festival.

Both concerts will be in Durham University’s Music Department, on Palace Green, Durham.

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Finally, on Monday, March 2, Kirpal Singh Panesar and Bhupinder Chaggar will perform in St Chad’s College Chapel, 18 North Bailey, Durham, at 7.30pm. Kirpal is one of the world’s leading performers of the bowed instruments esraj and tar shehnai and Bhupinder will accompany him on the tabla.

Tickets for the concerts are priced £5 to £10, with concessions available. Festival passes, for all three concerts, are £16, or £6 for students. All can be booked online at musicdurham.org/musicon. The events are presented in association with Gem Arts.

Dr Eric Egan, an Assistant Professor of Composition in the University’s Music Department and Chair of the MUSICON board, said: “The Indian Spring Colours concerts series will feature some of the very best of Hindustani classical music. We’re very excited at the performers we have coming to Durham and are pleased to invite everyone to enjoy the music with us.”

MUSICON is an annual concert series which is currently celebrating its 50th anniversary.