"This coming Sunday marks the beginning of Holi, a Hindu festival that has been celebrated for hundreds of years.
"Holi was originally an agricultural festival celebrated in India to commemorate the arrival of spring. The spirit of this tradition continues in Canada, as Hindus will rejoice and celebrate the first official day of spring in our country.
"Also known as the Festival of Colours, the most striking ritual of Holi is the throwing of coloured powder and water onto friends and family, which is symbolic of nature's many colours that flourish in spring.
"Holi also commemorates various events in Hindu mythology, and is a time to mark the ultimate triumph of good over evil. It is a time of joy and celebration during which Hindus come together with family, friends, and the community to exchange gifts and share festive meals.
"In Canada, Holi is celebrated by Hindus and non-Hindus alike, bringing together different faiths and cultural communities. By spreading a message of peace and friendship, it is a celebration that helps build an integrated society in our diverse country.
"For all Canadians, this important festival provides an excellent opportunity to reflect on the tremendous contributions that Hindus have made to this country's rich and diverse heritage.
"As Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, I extend my best wishes for a happy Holi to everyone celebrating in the days ahead."