Spring had arrived and what better way to welcome Spring than to participate in the color, love, and community of the annual Holi festival. Known as the festival of Colors, the day is ancient in origin and was meant to celebrate the triumph of ‘good’ over ‘bad’. It was also known as a Festival for Sharing Love. And for us, it was all these things and more.
In our epxeirnce, it was a celebration where the young and old smeared or threw colored pigments on each other. Messy, sweet, mischievous and fun, its adults vs. kids, kids vs. adults, adults vs. adults, kids vs. kids, kids vs. dogs kind of day.
This is the girls when we arrived. It is an important reference photo for this festival.
Since it was our first time at the Holi festival and we didn’t quite know what to expect, we showed up promptly at 11am. Electronic dance music vibrated throughout the park, exotic beats, beckoning us to dance. We walked up to a booth located in the eastern part of the park. A man came by and smeared magenta power onto the girls’ faces, they squealed with delight. He smiled and said, “Happy Holi!” and cheerfly went onto the next person.
At the booth, boxes of bags were filled with brightly color powder were for sale. “Happy Holi!” the man greeted us. I asked what to do and he told me I could buy any number and combination of bags and it was up to us to decide how to share them. Throw it. Smear it. Just join in the fun.
Yellow, Orange, Red, Green, Navy Blue, Aquamarine, Purple, True Blue, Magenta and Pink bags were piled in neat boxes on a folding table under the tent. Ava and Mia each picked out three bags, which in hindsight was probably too many, but we managed to work through it all. Historically, the powders were made of washable plant-based colors like numeric, neem, dhal, and kumkum, but now they used commercial water-based pigments.
The girls spent the first 15 minutes, smearing colors on me and each other. Ava’s hair was transformed to a bright red quickly as she dumped a rainbow of powder on her head.
It wasn’t long before they encountered a few boys who ran by laughing as they threw powder at them. The lightbulb went on and they realized, they were meant to share in the fun. Everyone was game. Young. Old. It didn’t matter, we were celebrating and that meant sharing their colors with everyone.
Mia ran off across the field and tried to get as many people as she could find. A rainbow of powder flew through the air, no one was safe. She was on a mission. A little boy and her got into a good game of who can get the other first.
Even this dog wasn’t safe, but he didn’t seem to mind. He was running in circles with excitement, I’m pretty sure he had done this before. He had plenty of fans and Ava colored him thoroughly.
It wasn’t long before we were completely veiled in color. Head to toe, walking rainbows. Ready to welcome Spring because there was no way Spring was going to miss us!
The girls loved the freedom and playfulness of the day. Multi-generational families surrounded us and shared their traditions. A deep sense of community enveloped the park, with joy and peace anchoring each corner.