If you have ever heard of the Holi festival and never experienced it before, I urge you to go whenever you find the opportunity. Trust me: it’s an amazing experience!
Although I am not an expert of this festival’s history, I know that it’s a Hindu spring festival, where people simply gather to share love, spread colours, dance and have lots of fun. I’ve heard of Holi before, but I’ve never got the chance to experience one myself, until a couple of weeks ago in London.
On Sunday April 10th, my friend and I went to the evening Holi party thrown by Dishoom in York Hall in Bethnal Green. We met around 6pm at the front of the building and queued amongst people wearing white t-shirts – little did I know that it would turn into all sorts of colours eventually!
Despite the queue, it didn’t take long to register and leave our coats at the cloakroom. Within minutes, we found ourselves at this huge hangar, which I would later find out to be an old boxing hall. We were welcomed by a lady distributing free chai, a tea which tasted deliciously sweet.
It took a good half an hour to have more people gathered around us and the music to pump out loud – long enough to catch up with my friend Carolina, who is also Brazilian and currently studying the same course as I did – Marketing Communications MA.
Suddenly, the bright lights turned off and colourful spotlights started to gleam upon us all. The staff began to distribute plastic packages full of powder (gulal) in all sorts of colours: red, blue, yellow, purple, green, pink… within a minute, the entire room became an incredible pot-pourri.
Any sign of shyness quickly dissipated as everyone went on to spread the powder not only on their friends, but also on random people and even themselves. From pop hits like “Uptown funk”, “Sorry” and “Cheerleader” to sultry Indian songs, we danced and sang along like crazy!
The most interesting element of the party, though, was the kaleidoscopic haze which involved all of us. The ethereal Technicolor fog was definitely different from anything I’ve ever seen and experienced before. Perhaps the uniqueness came from the fact that we all created that atmosphere ourselves, so it felt simply authentic, organic and real.
At the end, we stayed longer than we had expected, as you might have imagined. We left around 10pm, a good time for me to get the train back home while my friend took a bus. My friend and I left there looking literally like Avatars, ready to face curious stares from people along the way. Fortunately, the remains of gulal were very easy to dust off and clean on the following day. No headaches!
Well, this was a quick snapshot of my first Holi party ever. I can assure you that it’s extremely fun, safe and enjoyable, so I recommend you to try at least once in your life if you’ve never done it before – you won’t regret it 😉
See you next time!
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