Photo by: David Joshua Ford
My lungs compressed, took in a suffocating cloud of color, searched for relief. None found. My heart raced. Eyes closed, I reach my hands out for balance, but nearly fell to my knees as a fist of blue paint collided with my face. Laughter. Coughing. Haze. When the cloud cleared, I opened my eyes and six people likewise painted in brilliant streaks pulled me in for a photo. Happy Holi!! They shouted. And walked away.
Holi, India’s most colorful festival, is both sobering and intoxicating: you feel like a child playing in neon paints and chalks, but don’t recover from vertigo until days later. My hair is still dyed blue. The exciting fact is that you don’t have to fly all the way to India to have these types of experiences.
On a recent commitment to learn about the world through New York City’s international population, I’ve enlisted myself to experience facets of culture like Holi, the Hinduist celebration of Spring’s arrival.
To read more about Indian culture in New York City, check out the Huffington Post or National Geographic Traveler. Just some advice. Should you ever practice Holi, arm yourself. Bring a bandana to breath through, goggles to see through, and coat your hair in either coconut or olive oil to prevent color absorption. Oh, and have fun!
Photo by David Joshua Ford