Elpis Chrysovergis

Elpis Chrysovergis

Jan 27 2012

Holi: Festival of Colours

 By Elpis

One of the most amazing experiences I lived in India was celebrating ‘’Holi’’ , the festival of colours, in the streets of Kolkata.

Every year, millions of people take to the streets and vie with each other throwing coloured powder and coloured water! Imagine how splendid it can be in a city like Kolkata, which counts a population of 15 million people, to see all the streets full of people celebrating this colour festival! In this festival, no one expects polite behavior; as a result, the atmosphere is filled with excitement and joy.

Originally, Holi commemorates good harvests and the fertile land. Hindus believe it is a time of enjoying spring’s abundant colours and saying farewell to winter. On the Eve of the main day, bonfires are lit and people gather around celebrating the event singing and dancing, which is symbolic of the victory of good over evil.

In Kolkata, there is a custom where a pot of buttermilk is hung high on the streets and young boys try to reach it and break it by making human pyramids. The girls try to stop them by throwing coloured water on them to commemorate the pranks of Krishna and cowherd boys to steal butter and ‘gopis’ while trying to stop the girls. The boy who finally manages to break the pot is crowned the Holi King. Afterwards, the men, who are now very colorful men, go out in a large procession to “alert” people of the Krishna’s possible appearance to steal butter from their homes.

Having heard so many things about Holi we were so curious to see how this festival could lower the strictness of the social norms and how the shy and polite Indians could turn out to go absolutely crazy! We were 5 white people (it is how they call us although my skin is not that white, hehe) between soooo many locals! So, because we were different everybody wanted to drench us with colours ! I don’t need to say anything, you can see the results in the pictures…!!

I just remember myself trying to put off the colour from my body for the next three days! Of course I kept my ex-white t-shirt which now is full of every colour as a souvenir from that beautiful day! I wish this festival was celebrated in every part of the world because we all need colours in our lives!

Check out more photos from India here

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