A while back we spent a Saturday celebrating Holi, the festival of colors. For obvious reasons, Holi is something I look forward to every year. Traditionally, it is a Hindu holiday, celebrated around the vernal equinox to celebrate the triumph of good over evil, and light over dark. It’s held to celebrate the arrival of spring, and a major part of the celebration is throwing colored powders on friends and neighbors, which is not considered rude, but all part of the fun. In the US, it’s largely celebrated as a social event. The one we attended was a party- a huge colorful party, but pretty devoid of any cultural context. It had wristbands, like a festival, girls wearing flower crowns and lots and lots of beer. Frankly, I felt a little old, but I was so excited about the color, that I just got over it and started wishing people happy Holi- and asking to take their photo, something my younger self would never have done. I don’t know if it was just the love of color, or simply that I’m older and care less about what anyone thinks of me, but I had a wonderful time capturing the colorful glee.
This event was interesting because it was strictly controlled- no outside powders were allowed in. I attended a Holi celebration in Queens several years ago, in an Indian community. It was held in a park, so everyone could join in. This celebration maintained more of the intended spirit of Holi I think. There was more of an emphasis on community fun, and interacting with strangers- joyfully wishing everyone happy Holi, which was really lovely. The bummer, however, is that a lot of kids brought huge bottles of baby powder to squeeze at people. The result was that everyone’s colors became drab and muted after a while. But not so at this recent event- the powders provided were so bright and vivid- a real visual feast. Below, are the results of our colorful adventure. (Thank you to @rydercarroll for some of these gorgeous shots.) Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll go back to cleaning my camera.