As evidenced by the warming weather and lengthening days, we pretty much skipped winter altogether here in New York. That’s probably a direct result of global warming and a sign of an imminent apocalypse, but whatevs — spring has sprung, y’all! It’s time to go outside and celebrate. Luckily for those of us ready to welcome spring with rapturous applause, tomorrow (March 8th) marks the start of the best spring festival in the world: the Holi festival of colors.
Every spring, Hindus in India (and around the Indian diaspora) celebrate the Holi festival to ring in the new season and honor ancient religious traditions. Over the course of two days, people gather around bonfires and subsequently toss handfuls of colored powder around until everyone is caked with bright dyes. Can you think of a better way to say goodbye to winter than leaving the cruel tyrant of a season in your technicolor dust trail?
If you’ve read my travel bucket list, you know that participating in the Holi festival is one of my life goals. On a basic level, I think it sounds amazing to run gleefully through the streets of India throwing multicolored powder on fellow revelers and in turn be coated head to toe in neon. But more importantly, I want to experience this Hindu holi-day (lol) for its social significance. Holi brings together people of all races, religions, and socioeconomic backgrounds and douses them in bright hues so that by the end of the festivities no one can tell who is rich or poor, Indian or otherwise. As a poor American, this sounds like a great opportunity to submerge myself in another culture for a brief moment.
I obviously will not be making it to India for Holi 2012, seeing as it’s already March 8th on that side of the globe. This year I’ll have to settle for the version of the festival being thrown in New York on March 25th, which I suppose isn’t a terrible plan — it’s on a Sunday, it’s free, an it will be warm enough then that I can wear a cute (albeit disposable) tank top. Life is good.
Have you ever celebrated the Holi festival in India? Tell me about it in the comments! I want to hear your colorful stories and feel the harsh burn of jealousy.