Thursday, March 8, 2012

Fancy Colours

Of all God's gifts to the sighted man, color is holiest, the most divine, the most solemn.
- John Ruskin

One of the best parts of starting the holiDAYtrips blog at the end of the winter season has been covering the holidays that honor the beginning of spring. And, after studying up on the Hindu holiday, Holi, I think we have found the most fantastic spring holiday of them all!

Also known as the Festival of Colors, one of Holi’s most notable traditions involves participants throwing colored powders (abrac) at each other in literal celebration of spring’s abundant and awe-inspiring hues.

Colored powders (abrac) for the Holi festival in a Mysore marketplace
(Photo: Nikolas Becker)

Holi falls on the day following the full moon (in the month of Phalguna, the 12th month of the Hindu lunar calendar), so the exact date of the holiday changes from year to year. This year, it falls on Thursday, the 8th of March.

Holi celebration at an engineering college in Adoor
(Photo: Sandeep Pranavam)

Well, a public celebration where I can throw colored powder on strangers all in the name of bidding farewell to the crummy winter weather? Where can I find such a wondrous event? It turns out we don’t have to go too far!

In Richmond Hill, Queens, every year they hold the Phagwah Parade, the Indo-Caribbean celebration honoring this most excellent of days! The parade is actually held the Sunday after the full moon, so this weekend – March 11 -- we are packing our pigments up and heading to what is supposedly one of the biggest Holi celebrations in North America. (I’m told up to 25,000 might attend, if the weather complies.)

And, if you don't quite understand what we're in for or why we might want to venture out for the occasion -- I submit to you one of the coolest videos that I've had the pleasure of stumbling upon whilst doing my research. This is from the 2010 Holi celebration in Spanish Fork, Utah, and comes to us courtesy of Evan Meets World:

So, stay tuned for what is sure to be some AMAZING footage and photos…coming in several days. And, if you’re local and looking for a Sunday activity unlike any other, I suggest you head to Smoky Oval Park, in Queens! Just make sure to wear something you don’t mind giving up to the cause!

Until Then, Happy Holi Everyone!


The “Packing List”


  1. Awesome article! Yes I have heard bits and pieces about this online but didn't really know what it was all about...until now. Thanks!

    1. I'm so glad to assist in your Holi education! This was such an artistic holiday...super fun to research!