Holi- the Festival of Colors!

It’s time to let loose and get into the festive mood Indian style!

The women at MarketPlace put color on each other on Holi!

Indians all over the world are celebrating Holi today. Originally celebrated to commemorate good harvests and the fertile land, Holi has really come to signify a celebration of spring’s abundant colors and a farewell to winter, especially in the cities. Hindus also celebrate many myths and legends on Holi. But it is probably the least religious of all the festivals.

On this day, people forget about social structures like caste, age, sex and status and everyone puts color on everyone- the rich and poor, men and women, old and young all play Holi with equal enthusiasm. In just a few minutes, it becomes impossible to recognize anyone because the colors are too intense- the whole neighbourhood is soon a sea of pink, blue, yellow, green, purple and sometimes even silver and gold faces.

Dry colors, herbal colors, colored water, balloons filled with water, water pistols- pick your weapon of choice- and no one is safe from attack. The fun of Holi is to throw color at people when they least expect it. Buckets of colored water are emptied onto unsuspecting people, water balloons are thrown at random strangers (and no one is allowed to complain on this day!), and some unlucky few are dunked in mud just for the fun of it.

Once the color play is over, everyone gathers around to eat, drink, sing and dance. There are usually tonnes of sweets and glasses of bhang– this is a lethal drink made of milk, sugar, almonds, spices and  the main ingredient is leaves and buds of the cannabis plant (yes, you read correctly!). This is a cheap intoxicant, which is legal in India, and no Holi is complete without it.

So, here’s wishing everyone buckets of color and joy on Holi!

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