(Photo : REUTERS/Samsul Said) A couple smiles as they are covered in powder for the Kuala Lumpur celebration of the Holi festival in March 2012. Madrid had a successful and fun celebration of Holi this past Saturday.
(Photo : REUTERS/Bazuki Muhammad) Malaysian Hindus cover each other in powder to celebrate the Holi festival in Kuala Lumpur (March 2013). Madrid had a successful and fun celebration of Holi this past Saturday.
(Photo : REUTERS/Bazuki Muhammad) A New York tourist covers herself in powder as she enjoys the Holi festival in Kuala Lumpur (March 2013). Madrid had a successful and fun celebration of Holi this past Saturday.
On Saturday, Madrid became an explosion of color with the Indian-inspired Holi festival taking center stage. Located in the Plaza de Augustin de Lara, 300 free-spirited partygoers packed the area to celebrate the Spanish twist on the artistic Hindu tradition.
In India, Holi (or Holi Phagwa) is known as the Hindu celebration of colors.
Celebrated on the March full moon in the Hindu month of Phalgun Purnima, the festival lasts for two days. The night before Holi takes place is known by Hindus as Holika. Following Holika is the actual day of Holi, which Hindus call “Dhuleti”.
With its origins running back to ancient times, Holi celebrates spring, community, and happiness–but it also has a colorful back story. The festival also honors the 700-verse Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad Gita. According to the Bhagavad Gita, Holi should honor new beginnings and should also mark the rekindling of the spirit of life.
Dhuleti is the day when the real color extravaganza begins, and Hindus throw vibrantly colored powder (known as Holi Gual) at one another–sometimes even resorting to water guns and buckets.
During Madrid’s celebration of Holi, non Hindus were able (and definitely did not hesitate) to partake in the excitement of the color wars. Amid the vibrant powder being thrown left and right, attendees danced enthusiastically to the catchy Indian rhythms of popular Bollywood films.
To ensure they would get as much color on them as possible, many participants came dressed in entirely white ensembles. Others went without tops, allowing the powder to tattoo their necks, backs, and torsos.
Though Madrid’s Holi festival had originally been organized by Hindus, this version did not carry the religious traditions or spiritual bonfires that would generally accompany the celebration.
With powder only priced at a mere $2.68, an endless amount of colors were purchased, thrown, and intentionally–and sometimes unintentionally–worn by many of the exuberant members.
Regardless of religious, cultural, or familial backgrounds, Madrid’s Holi festival definitely made one vivid imprint this weekend.