Ever since I first saw photos of people at a Holi Festival exuberantly throwing powdered paint on each other five or six year years ago I knew I had to experience this first hand.
Finally did it. Last month.
Don’t know what drives me, but something does.
The Holi Festival is a wonderful kaleidoscope of color, joy, happiness and fun times. Yes, it is a religious festival but there’s no prayers or actual religious observance. It’s pure fun. Perfect for the party hardy.
Made me think of the Hippies in the 1960s. And actually there are some parallels. The drink du jour made by locals is actually made with cannabis. We were offered it multiple times as our bus stopped at small towns as we rolled through the country side. I didn’t know what it was when our bus driver and tour leader turned down the offers of the drink. I assumed they didn’t want us to have something might cause Delhi Belly, but now that I know what was in it, I wonder. Hmmmm, maybe they didn’t want a bunch of flying high photographers. Can’t say that I blame them.
Anyway, I digress. Let’s back up.
I went on a Photography Tour called Three Festivals, the first being the Holi Festival in Vrindaban.
We had several opportunities to celebrate Holi.
First, was a parade in the town of Mathura, a few hours from Delhi. Loud music. Floats. Bands. People plastering themselves, their friends, strangers and us with powdered paint. We followed along enjoying it all, trying to protect our cameras while taking pictures. What a hoot. I’m smiling as I remember the experience and write this. And yep, I’d go again if I could.
The next day we went to Govind dev ji Temple in Vrindavan where we got there early to watch and to photograph the pre festival activity. Not only do they throw paint, but the widows throw flower petals. It was fun and colorful to see the piles of flowers being amassed.
Clouds of Color
Once the music started and a critical mass of folks arrived we all danced, took pictures, threw paint and flower petals and reveled in a good time. At points I thought there were as many photographers as participants. By the end, when the clouds of color covered us all, you couldn’t tell who were the widows and who were visitors. We were all slathered with colorful paint.
Toss your worries in the wind.
I like the thought behind the Holi Festival.
The Holi Festival is a time to throw away grudges and bad feelings. Toss your worries in the wind. Start anew. Enjoy and appreciate friendships and fresh starts.
At one point in the peak of the festivity, I noticed a small boy, maybe 10 or 12, having a wonderful time throwing paint off the balcony onto the throngs below. I was stationed not too far from him.
I pointed to my camera asking to take his picture and he smiled for me. Then, he reached in his bag to grab some paint to throw at me with a great deal of force. I could almost see his thought process. In an instant he slowed down and gently tossed the handful in a sweet slow way at me. Truly a gesture of friendship. Our eyes met and we both smiled. It was a lovely moment.
I think that’s what Holi is all about.