Jonathan: होली है! Holi, the Hindu festival of colors

March 21, 2011

होली है!

Holi, the Hindu festival of colors, was this past weekend, and was quite a magnificent experience indeed.  Perhaps the most recognizable of all Hindu festivals, Holi is a phantasmagoric experience as participants throw and rub colored powder all over friends and the occasional stranger.  As is expected in India the powders are vibrant, ostentatious, and unrelenting.  Hot pink, lime green, bold saffron, bright red, blue, and every iteration in between.  Holi too involves massive amounts of water (quite welcomed in the summer heat) which is either shot through guns or poured from buckets onto hapless pedestrians (although we did suffer their wrath and get smothered by colors a few minutes later).  It is loud and wild with plentiful food, constant company, and a solid dose of humility.

I spent Holi in Udaipur with the family of the Jatan Sansthan’s executive director, which was great fun and involved a healthy dose of unencumbered fun.  While there were wild celebrations in the Old City (of which I had been warned to avoid, although I have no idea how dangerous they truly were), I chose to celebrate with a family given that circumstances provided rare access to witness how most Indian families celebrate.  It was great fun.  Now I am back in Railsmagra with a new project for my NGO (but more on that once it gets underway), gearing up to celebrate Holi again this weekend, since they play Holi a week later in the village.  HOLI HAI!



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