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People celebrating Holi Festival in India

A Jolly Holi-Day: Multicoloured Madness in India

By Jane McLellan

Last updated: 1st September 2011

One of my most treasured memories from India was the first day I arrived – which just happened to be on Holi day! I stepped off the plane, bleary-eyes and stiff-limbed after a nine-hour flight, but excited to be in India for the first time. Just an hour later I found myself amongst the crazy Holi celebrations, covered in paint, head to toe! It was a great way to shake off the jet lag!

Holi is a festival to welcome the arrival of spring and the harvest season and is celebrated by people throwing coloured water and powder at one another. It’s normal to chuck paint over your family and friends, but also perfectly acceptable to do it to complete strangers, seemingly including me! Seriously, during this festival no one is safe from being turned into a multicoloured mess; it was nuts! Random strangers would come up to me and paint my face, or rub it into my hair. I quickly realised that this was actually a friendly battle and the best thing to do was join in, smile, and laugh along with the locals.

It was such a colourful and fun way to start my Indian adventure and I was lucky to know one of the locals who kindly invited me to join his family for the celebrations. We visited his friends and family and at each house I was welcomed by, yes you guessed it, being smothered in paint. I also got to sample some delicious local treats, as it’s normal for the festival to be accompanied by feasts as well as dancing in the streets. It’s hilarious, so if you are in India during Holi, I recommend joining this vibrant, colourful festival as it will be a day you remember forever.  Just remember to wear some old clothes!

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