Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

Dyed by Their Own Hands

March 11th, 2010 · 11 Comments

For the umpteenth year in a row, we failed to take advantage of our Atlah locale and check out the annual Phagwah parade in Richmond Hill, Queens. But we got our Guyanese festival kick by checking out these shots, which amply demonstrate the splattery fun that was had by all.

More great photos of Phagwah parades past here. And you can read about the history of the parade here. We tried to find some info on the festival’s celebration in Guyana itself, but didn’t come up with much of interest. Perhaps that’s because Guyana is a nation whose culture flourishes most beyond its physical borders; the number of Guyanese living abroad far exceeds the motherland’s dwindling population.


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11 Comments so far ↓

  • Jordan

    I was just talking to my brother about the parade and it turns out that those shots are from one of his friends. My bro wanted to check out the festival because he’s shooting a Hindi wedding in a couple of months, but wasn’t able to go to Phagwah. Small world, you know.

  • Brendan I. Koerner

    Kudos to your brother’s friend on the photos. I guess he missed the meat of the parade, but still managed to reel off some beautiful shots.

    Need to plan ahead to make this next year. A bit of a trek from home, esp. since I have no car. Not too often that I find myself on the J/Z subway these days…

  • Captured Shadow

    “the number of Guyanese living abroad far exceeds…”
    Very interesting. Is this true for many other countries too? I suppose it depends on how you count people – by strict citizenship or just heritage. There must be more “Irish” outside Ireland than in, but no actual Irish citizens.

  • Brendan I. Koerner

    @Captured Shadow: I wondered the same exact thing, and I’d like to look into the matter for a future post.

    As I understand it, the 2m figure for Guyanese is for immigrants and their first-generation progeny (who may or may not have Guyanese citizenship).

    BTW, worth a read–a NYT piece that explains a bit about why so many folks leave Guyana for Queens (or elsewhere). Not a lot of love for the homeland, apparently:


  • scottstev

    Being of Ecuadorian extraction myself, I can say that the third largest Ecuadorian (by population) city is in fact the NYC. I expect you could find several countries with a larger diaspora than in the home country.

  • Brendan I. Koerner

    @scottstev: Yeah, enormous Ecuadorian population here. Some interesting stats:


    I’ll try and do a diaspora-related post soon. Drowning in paying work at the moment (thus the dearth of posts today), but hope the sked will clear next week.

  • jackal

    Ah, Holi. Good times! Interesting that the Guyanese Hindus call it Phagwah, that’s apparently the Bhojpuri word for holi — always find it cool with the early indian diaspora (caribbean, malayasia/singapore, mauritius) how their current vocabulary/prominent festivals gives us a nice insight into their rather specific geographic origins centuries ago..

  • Brendan I. Koerner

    @jackal: Many thanks for the linguistics knowledge. I need to learn more about East Indian migration to the Caribbean–was hoping to find something via Google Books this morning, but came up snake eyes.

    I approve of any and all festivals that involve running around and splattering people with goo. Another case in point:


  • Captured Shadow

    Songkran in Thailand and Carnaval in Ecuador (Guaranda more than most other towns) are two festivals that involve water throwing that sometimes spreads to other goo. The actions are amazingly similar – maybe there is a climate connection.

  • scottstev

    @Captured Shadow. Thanks for the brain trigger on Ecuadorian Carnaval. My mother will tell us tons of stories of the water throwing fun to be had. Every so often, the authorities would try and clamp things down and cut off municipal water. That would, of course, lead to preparatory water hoarding prior to the festival. You can’t stop a party; especially when Ecuadorians are involved.

  • A Lovely Place to Say Goodbye To

    […] There is plenty of statistical candy to consume in the CIA Factbook’s latest net migration figures. We had no idea, for example, that people were actually flocking to strife-torn Cyprus, or that Grenadians were so hot to leave the erstwhile Isle of Spice. But what really struck us was a stat that harkens back to a topic of discussion last week: the sheer magnitude of the Guyanese diaspora. […]