Monday, March 1, 2010

Holy Holi!

For anyone that has heard my Thai stories, Holi is like Songkran with colors, a whole new level of insanity! Apparently Holi is sometimes referred to as the "Spring Festival," but as far as I can tell spring doesn't exist in Andhra Pradesh where it's already hit 40C. There are three seasons: wet, hot, and cold; Holi marks the end of winter and the beginning of the hot, summer season. Bright orange flowers are plucked from trees that recently bloomed, dried, ground up, and mixed with huge buckets of water to produce the most common colour of Holi. This Festival of Colors is much more celebrated in North India where people wear brand new white clothes and sandals. Down here everyone wears old clothes but since I haven't been here long enough to have anything old I turned my orange kurta inside out. We celebrated at the Junior College (JC) with the students who live there and the women who work in the kitchen. Within a few minutes of arriving I was soaking wet, dripping orange water, smeared with tumeric powder and successively finger painted purple, blue, and red. Fortunately, I managed to avoid the eggs that were being smashed into people's hair and the engine oil smeared on some faces! The holiday was incredibly happy and good natured with everyone joining in, sharing the water, passing out colored powders, and setting up friendly attacks. As far as I could tell there was not much focus on the history or legends behind Holi, which didn't really matter, it was so nice to take a few hours out with the sole intent of relaxing and laughing with the people around us.

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