Holi festival

Started the day by going to a morning service at St John’s Presbyterian Church, near our stomping grounds of Rosetta and which Madame Oui’s grandparents attended.

On the back of a relatively traumatic week for the people of Northern Ireland, with three deaths by paramilitaries, I expected reference in the sermon. Rev. Orr made an appropriate one, to the need to master evil when it unexpectedly pounces on you. This lesson demonstrated well by Northern Ireland’s society’s calm collective response.

Our souls nourished, we craved human sustenance. We went to Ruby Tuesday’s on Lisburn Road, near another stomping ground of my postgrad days at Queen’s. I enjoyed my honey and banana pancakes, while Madame Oui tucked into some eggs and wheaten bread.

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Then, with the task of groceries completed, we went to St George’s Market to take in the Indian Holi festival. I only knew about this by chance, listening to the radio this morning.

Walking towards the market, we bumped into Anna Lo MLA and her partner. I asked her about the newly built Chinese Resource Centre on Ormeau Road — official opening planned in a few months time.

Inside, we slipped past getting our faces dabbed with paint — in the spirit of this festival of colour — and quickly took in the smells, music, and gaiety of it all.

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There were Indian as well as Greek Hellenic dances and singers, food stalls against the marketplace walls, and hundreds of happy visitors.

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I bumped into another politician, Bairbre de Brun MEP. I told her that I would have liked to seen Belfast Lord Mayor Tom Hartley painted up and donned with a festive garland, and Bairbre promptly produced her digital camera and showed me!

Bairbre was certainly enjoying herself, as she and friends got up to participate in some of the dances. Good on ye!

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