An estimated 10,000 people of various nationalities thronged the Wonderland theme park all day to throw colours, coloured water and sway to the music at the Rang de 2013, organised by the Country Club hotel in Dubai.
“We come here every year,” said Shyam Kishnani, 30, who was accompanied by a group of 30 people. “It’s a lot of fun but there was too much rush. I’ll try to organise something myself.”
Crowds swelled after 2pm and many had to wait in long queues to get into the venue.
“They should improve security because many families are coming for it,” said Gopal Jasujani, 39, a sales supervisor.
“There are only three gates to allow visitors. They should keep a separate entrance for families, especially ladies.”
The large turnout did not dampen his spirits, however.
“It is difficult to meet friends and family regularly in Dubai because we are busy. Festivals like this give us an opportunity to catch up,” Mr Jasujani said.
The spring festival has spread from its roots in northern India and has evolved into a riot of colour and celebration.
It is celebrated by playing with bright, dry colours as well as coloured water. However, with severe water shortages, people were urged not to waste water and have a dry Holi in India, where the festival was celebrated earlier this week.
An expatriate in Dubai said she was amazed by the enthusiasm of revellers. “In India, the craze to celebrate Holi is less,” said Seema Gurnani, 36, who works with an advertising company. “People outside the country are enjoying it more.”
Rajeev Reddy, chairman of the Country Club, said the purpose of the event was to offer something for all ages.
“We organise Holi for families to get together … and to get the new generation to learn about the Indian culture.”