The Hindu Festival of Colors just passed and I can’t stop looking at photos of the colored street fight. This holiday is more formally known as Holi. I have been intrigued by this celebration for a long time. It’s attracted a lot of attention over the past few years because photos like this get circulated around the web.
Flickr: Paulalyn Carvalho
The Color Run is a popular 5k in the US that gives runners the chance to throw color powder about as they run, which for a long time was about as close as we could get to the color festival over here in America. But now there are versions of the Holi Festival that you can buy tickets to go to. Apparently people just really want to dance around and throw colors at each other. Trust me, I’m all about that life too. I’m not surprised it’s become more of a fad that everyone wants to be a part of.
As much as I’m on board with everyone sharing a colorful experience, it’s always been a bucket list item for me to stand in the midst of a rainbow-colored crowd during a true Hindu celebration. Part of that dream is to experience the authentic Holi festivals in India, not just an imitation party over here in the US. My reasoning is there’s details in the culture that make Holi what it is, so here’s the top five reasons why I keep the real Holi on my bucket list.
1. Bring on the Springtime
Flickr: Michael Foley
Holi is usually celebrated in March and it is supposed to mark the start of the warm season, and I’m all about celebrating warmth! I don’t know what your winter has been like, but here in New York it has been some of the most frigid temperatures I’ve ever experienced. So the change of weather is DEFINITELY something that deserves a holiday. But I also think it’s more than that. There are so many things that come with spring that I respect how a culture makes a celebration out of change and can look forward to the possibilities to come.
2. Color EVERYWHERE
Flickr: Parag Sankhe
I’ve always been attracted to colorful things: flowers, paintings, balloons, everything. Running through clouds of colored powder sounds like a dream come true to me. People come out of the festival with color all over their face, hair and clothes, some of the most beautiful photos come out of it, I can only imagine what it would be like to be in the midst of it. I also like how the color can bring together a crowd of strangers to look like a unified community. There’s something peaceful in that.
3. It’s a Festival of Love
Flickr: Steven Gerner
Love is at the core of Hinduism and stems from a story of love. Krishna is one of the Hindu gods, and it is said that he was discouraged that none of the goddesses would love him because of his blue skin. The story goes on to say that he was told to paint the face of Radha, a Hindu godess, any color he wished. And so they fell in love and the festival of color was born.
4. Everyone is your friend
Flickr: Rajesh India
Holi is like one giant food fight, except replace food with color. But EVERYONE gets into it. It’s not just amongst groups of friends here or there, anyone can throw color at anyone. There’s water guns and water balloons with color in them so everyone is joining together to color bomb one another. There’s no such thing as personal space on Holi, just lots and lots of new friends.
5. It celebrates unity with nature
Flickr: Prasanth Chandran
One of the messages of Holi is to live harmoniously with the earth instead of destroying the natural beauty that exists. As the Global Citizen Earth Day event approaches, I can’t help but get excited about anything that embraces the message to respect the earth and our natural resources.
So while these are my top five reasons to move Holi to the top of my bucket list, every time I see beautiful photo from the festival, it becomes yet another reason why I must get there. So I’ll throw in a few more images in case you don’t share my sentiments yet.
Flickr: Kishore Bhargava
Flickr: Alessanro Baffa
Flickr: Thomas Hawk