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Playing Holi (VIDEO)

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 in New York City, everyone seemed in excellent spirits and ready for a party. I could feel the nostalgia in the air. Like 4th of July or Christmas, these celebrations clearly evoked fond memories from growing up in India for many on the boat.

The powder itself was light 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.

Over 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
    March 20, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    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
      March 20, 2012 at 3:12 pm

      OMG! I can’t wait!

  • Anonymous
    March 20, 2012 at 4:06 pm

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

  • Jacob
    March 20, 2012 at 4:08 pm

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

  • Jenny
    March 20, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    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
      March 20, 2012 at 8:31 pm

      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
    March 21, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    Nicely written.

  • Rajinder Wanchoo
    March 27, 2012 at 7:26 pm

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

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