There are certain events that I look forward to each year, and Holi Hai – a celebration of spring, colors, and love – is most definitely one of them!
Arriving dressed from head to toe in your best whites, both friends and strangers alike cover each other in a rainbow of colors all in the name of celebrating happiness. I attended my first holi last year and was hooked by just how much fun it was! For some, it may seem a little overwhelming at first because people you don’t know are dousing you in powder – with some even rubbing it right into your face! – but once you let go of your inhibitions, you really start to have an amazing time!
Organized each year by NYC Bhangra, Holi Hai takes place at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza on East 47th Street, right next to the United Nations, which I think is quite fitting, and is completely FREE! The only thing you would have to pay for are the colors, which are $5 per cup, but they could last you quite a while depending on how crazy you go.
Traditionally celebrated in countries like India or Nepal, it is a festival that “signifies the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring, end of winter, and for many a festive day to meet others, play and laugh, forget and forgive, and repair ruptured relationships.”
When you’re throwing colored powder at one another and turning yourself into what could only be described as a walking Jackson Pollock painting, I definitely think it is difficult to harbor any negative feelings or feel unhappy in the least.
For a free event, I was also so super impressed with the variety in talent booked to perform. There were dance groups from different colleges and universities (some even traveling in from other countries), dance routines on roller skates, traditional Indian and Native American dances, and amazing singers of all different genres, so we were definitely thoroughly entertained throughout the day.
It also seemed like everyone came out that day to celebrate!
And even dogs!
By the end, I think I looked like an Oompa Loompa who’d gotten into a fight with its color printer, and I definitely got powder in places that powder should never be, but I also walked away with an immense happiness in my heart that only holi can bring about. I also enjoyed all of the stares on the train ride home!
For those who missed out this year, don’t fret because there is also the Festival of Colors: Holi 2015 at The Cultural Performing Arts Center (1020 E 48th Street) in Brooklyn this Saturday, May 9. I’ve never been and unfortunately this one isn’t free, but I’m sure it’ll be just as fun.
If you’ve ever been to a holi celebration, I’d love to hear about it below. Until next year,