One of the things that I love most about living in New York is the diversity in culture, religion and lifestyle. One of my favorite things as of late is enjoying Holi Hai.
Holi is an important festival to Hindus, as well as to many other Indians and other people of south Asian origin. It is celebrated at the end of winter, on the last full moon day of the lunar month Phalgun (February/March), (Phalgun Purnima), which usually falls in March, sometimes in late February.
Holi celebrations start on the night before Holi with a Holika bonfire where people gather, do religious rituals in front of the bonfire, and pray that their internal evil should be destroyed as the bonfire starts. The next morning is celebrated as Rangwali Holi - a free-for-all carnival of colours, where participants play, chase and colour each other with dry powder and coloured water, with some carrying water guns and coloured water-filling balloons for their water fight. Anyone and everyone is fair game, friend or stranger, rich or poor, man or women, children and elders. The frolic and fight with colours occurs in the open streets, open parks, outside temples and buildings. Groups carry drums and other musical instruments, go from place to place, sing and dance. People visit family, friends, and foes to throw coloured powders on each other, laugh and gossip, then share Holi delicacies, food and drinks. -Wikipedia
Last year my sister and I went for the first time to Holi Hai and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. So we decided to make this a yearly ritual. Dressing head to toe in all white, we trooped down to Dag Hammerskjold Plaza, ready for food, music, and of course the beautiful colors. The number one thing you should know other than wearing clothes you don't care too much for, is to wrap every electronic in plastic or in ziplock bags, otherwise you'll have colored powder everywhere!
Upon entrance you are greeted with bands, you choose the colors you want to play with and LET THE FUN BEGIN!
Holi Hai is filled with so much great energy, from people dancing with strangers who have now become friends, to making sure everything you are wearing is covered in color. It brings you back to being a kid and just enjoying being silly, getting full, and getting beautifully messy. One of my favorite parts of such an event and day, is the travel home. Walking down Madison while on goers just stare at you, wondering what on earth you have been through, while others want to know how they can partake.
Once I was home, I showered and made many attempts to wash all the color out of my hair. However I ended up with a pretty cool pastel fruity pebbles look going. So be prepared to stain some clothing. However everyone should experience Holi Hai. I personally look forward to surprising my sister one year by going to Holi Hai in India, she's lucky it just so happens to fall right around her birthday. 'Till then, we will enjoy NYC's version.
The pictures I took didn't do this festival any justice, so check out the video below of NYC Bhangra's Holi Hai Festival 2014.