12 countries
12 martial arts
12 months

Holi the Festival of Colour


This is Holi, the festival of colour. There are some great Holi celebrations around the world, including in London and Utah, but I wanted to celebrate it in one of the originating countries: India. Holi is a Hindu celebration to welcome spring.

There's also a legend behind it. The story of Prahalad and Holika. Holika, a female demon and sister of the demon king. Prahalad, was the demon king's son. Long story short, the demon king decides to kill his son and makes Holika do it. 

Holika was immune to fire so she decided to sit in... a fire... with Prahalad. She eventually burned because she was taking her gift for granted to do something evil. Prahalad lived because of his devotion to Vishnu. So, good won over evil. 

That's why you can see the burning wood near the beginning of the video. It's to symbolize the burning off of wickedness. 

I didn't have much time so I went for the easy celebration in Delhi where I could jump off the plane and jump back on to go back to the Cherry Blossoms in Japan. If you go, pick up a Pichkaris, a water pistol syringe and some colour powders. There's Tesu, Gulal and Abeer. Tesu is from a flower, Gulal is the standard from what I could see, and Abeer is sparkly and have small crystals in them. 

SOME OF THE POWDERS DO NOT COME OUT NO MATTER HOW MUCH YOU WASH. Bring some expendable clothes. Or, do what we did. We went to the market and picked up some white Punjabi clothes for about 5-10 USD. 

Also, there are some health concerns about the powders. I did not worry about this too much, but you may want to google it if you're worried. Generally the stuff at the big celebrations are certified. 

How we did it:

1) Bought tickets to HoliCow. One of the biggest celebrations for Holi in India.

2) Flew to DEL, Indira Gandhi International Airport. 

3) Had HOLICOW CANCELLED last minute. This made life stressful. 

3) Contacted Couch Surfers to join a local party and found Holiguns and other parties online. There is no lack of parties in Delhi for Holi. Do not worry. You do not even have to book in advance. Just show up. If you want that feeling of security however, feel free to book. 

4) Show up at least a day in advance so you can wander and see the bonfires. The Holi celebrations start early so don't feel "safe" just walking around in the days leading up to the celebration. 

5) BE CAREFUL WITH A DRINK CALLED BHANG! We got drugged by a very well meaning person. I had no idea what it was. He just kept saying it was strong. He was drinking it with his family and father so I thought it was safe, but it's... well.. Marijuana. It's considered a traditional drink in India.

6) Take taxis or rickshaws around. They're cheap. 

6) Enjoy the colours! Buy some powder! Throw it around and expect to get wet!

If I were to do this ever again, I would want it with a very tight, close knit group of friends, or in the traditional north. Possibly the celebration in Utah as well; but, there isn't a burning need to play Holi ever again. It was fun, but it's done. We'll see what happens next!

Some bad things did happen, aside from the drugging. I lost my Gopro Hero3 Black edition with 64gig card and LCD back. I still cringe when I think about this. I also got severely food poisoned and was shivering on the ground when i got back to Tokyo. I couldn't even walk 10 steps to the kitchen to get water to drink. So be careful with the food! 

Dec 12 2012 00:00:00