On Saturday, March 16, 2013 I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I met some friends at the Holi Festival of Colors. I had seen something similar on a tv show hosted by Ricky Gervais where he makes his friend do uncomfortable things in unfamiliar lands. I caught the show channel surfing one evening, its not good, I don’t recommend it … I do recommend Breaking Bad, Big Bang Theory, King of Queens, First 48 … but I digress … The Festival of Colors, so I had seen something on tv and a had vague notion of the events, but really knew next to nothing about it. I did know that colored powders would be thrown around so I purchased a rain shield to protect my camera.
The event had 2 stages at either end of a giant field. There was definitely a “main stage” which is where most of the people spent most of their time. Upon entry, we headed toward the growing crowd in front of the main stage. I noticed a lot of people wearing white, a lot of people in respirator or nurse-type mouth coverings and a lot of people had glasses or goggles. Krishna music, chanting and yoga instruction blasted from the stage while much of the crowd obediently followed along. Occasionally the MC would refer a countdown but all the while the crowd (consisting mostly of high schoolers) were throwing their colored powder on their friends and an occasional “clean” stranger.
Here is a brief description from the Festival’s website: “In India, Holi announces the arrival of spring and the passing of winter. The festival breathes an atmosphere of social merriment. People bury their hatchets with a warm embrace and throw their worries to the wind. Every nook and corner presents a colorful sight. Young and old alike are covered with colors (red, green, yellow, blue, black and silver). People in small groups are seen singing, dancing and throwing colors on each other.”
So finally the time came for the first countdown … 3, 2, 1 and the field exploded in vibrant colors, huge smiles and good vibes all around.
After witnessing the first countdown from the perimeter, I knew I needed to be in the middle of it for the next one … 3, 2, 1 and the clouds of vibrant colors actually blocked the light and darkened the skies from within the crowd.
And when the colored powder settled, here are some portraits of the aftermath …
And me … (photo by Javier Clift)