Biggest paint party in India
Holi or होली is the festival of color celebrated each spring in India. Go ahead and google images for Holi right now. I’ll wait…
Ah-may-zing, right? It’s an ancient Hindu religious festival that is now recognized in photos where people are playing with color – dry powdered color, colored water in water guns or balloons. Everyone is fair game, even the cows.
When I was in college, I accidently stumbled upon the Greek Orthodox celebration of Easter in Athens, and it was incredible. Ever since then I have tried to time my visits to countries to coincide with significant holidays or festivals. I knew I wanted to be in India for Holi.
Days before the festival, the street vendors have carts full of piles of the brightest colors. Our Intrepid guide helped us to know how much was reasonable to pay and we began bargaining.
Then the celebrating lasts all day and sometimes for the next few days. It starts out with just one finger dipped into color and a small streak on your cheek. It then progresses to small handfuls tossed in your general direction. Eventually, there are no spots left that haven’t been drenched in brilliance (and I mean none!).
Soon comes the pistols filled with colored water. At one point I even saw someone being trailed with a bucket. The colors begin to run together until you reload on the powder paint and the fun starts all over again.
My personal photos from the festivities themselves are not spectacular, since I attempted to safeguard my camera in a clear resealable bag. However, our after-photos are some of my favorites among the 50 countries I’ve visited – the color, the festival, the memories and the amazing people I met along the way.
Travel tip: if you want to expereince Holi in India, get cheap sunglasses!
Photo by Laura Rinderknecht.