Playing Holi (VIDEO)

That’s what people from India call it when they celebrate by attacking each other with vibrantly colored powder.

Last weekend, I participated in the Hindu tradition with some friends in New York City. Here’s are highlights…

Let me give you a little bigger picture of Holi.

Holi is a festival to welcome the Spring. It is celebrated widely in Western and Northern India over two days with bonfires, parties, live music, dance and food – and of course colored powder. It is said to be a time when social structures that restrict people from interacting freely based on age, sex or caste are pushed aside. And everybody let’s loose.

Over the weekend, everyone seemed in excellent spirits and ready for a party. And I felt very welcome. It was almost like I could feel the nostalgia in the air. Like 4th of July or Christmas, these celebrations clearly invoked fond memories from growing up in India for many on the boat.

The powder itself was dry like baby powder and smelt faintly of lavender. And as you can imagine, at times, it can be uncomfortable to breathe. I did see a few people with masks. But somehow the mess and any discomfort is worth it once you are in the middle of it all.

There is something about all those colors that is surprisingly exciting. It is such a visceral experience with the powder, good cheer, and music blaring. You can’t help but to dance.

Some other interesting facts…

I’m told that in India there is a traditional milk beverage brewed with Marijuana leaves that is popular to drink during the festivals. And on some occasions, the color used is oil based. And my friends said that kind doesn’t come off for days.

Lucky for me, that wasn’t the case this weekend. It all washed off pretty easily.

  • Priyanka

    Had a great time playing holi with you and introducing you to the madness that it is! Next year, we’ll play holi in India x

    • travelwkate

      OMG! I can’t wait!

  • Anonymous

    Wow how great. That looks like a lot of fun. I never heard of this tradition.
    Thanks for enlightening us

  • Jacob

    What an interesting tradition. I’d love to try it one day.

  • http://glenniem.wordpress.com Jenny

    Looks like great fun, you look so happy….was it easy to get the color off? I’ve not heard of this so thanks for that!

    • travelwkate

      Yes, it was super easy. Just a little water and soap does the trick. Although I have to admit, to get it all off my scalp it took two washes.

  • Anonymous

    Nicely written.

  • Rajinder Wanchoo

    This is an occasion when even the enemies come together and become friends. Rajja

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