India hosts the world’s biggest “color clash” every spring, as people across the country chase and cover each other with different colored powders. The Holi festival has now become a global phenomenon.
People’s religion, caste, age or gender – otherwise important in India’s hierarchical society – play little or no role in the Holi festival.
Individuals sing and dance in the streets and throw powdered paint and colored water at each other, the rich and poor alike. Everyone has the same multicolored appearance, rendering the usual social disparities invisible. The colors stand for fertility and a new beginning. It’s a celebration of good triumphing over evil, and old disputes being laid to rest.
Holi has its origins in Hinduism, and is one of the oldest folk festivals in the world. It runs for at least two days, and coincides with the first full moon in March. This year, festivities will be concentrated on March 23 and 24. The color extravaganza is now celebrated in a range of countries as a commercial event for party revelers.