Friday, March 12, 2010
When we arrived to Hampi we had heard that there was suppose to be a big festival that weekend called Holi. However, no one seemed to know what is was for or what day it was actually on. We continued to hear many different things from travelers and local Indians. At first we were told Holi would be celebrated on Sunday only to find out on Sunday morning that it was actually going to be moved to Monday since it was recognized as an official holiday and people could take a half day off work to celebrate and join in on the festivites. To fill you in on what Holi actually is..Holi is an annual festival celebrated on the day after the full moon in the Hindu month of Phalguna (early March). It celebrates spring, commemorates various events in Hindu mythology and is time of disregarding social norms when friends and family spray each other with colored powders and water and cover each other in paints. It basically becomes mayhem with tourist and locals all just going crazy and wild in the streets dancing and covering each other in paint. Everyone in Hampi joined in the festivity from children to adults locals and tourists -it is a festival that also celebrates the breaking of all barriers of discrimination between caste systems and toruists and locals by covering eachother in paint everyone looks the same so it was really nice to be a part of it after witnessing the caste system and feeling such a barrier from locals while traveling and being tourists.
Molly and I along with our good friends Mel and Dev that we had met at the hostel went full out on Holli. We saw it all begin and marched through rice paddie fields with local children and drummers to the othersied where the full Holi madness began. We stopped at our hostel to mix sand dye and water in waterbottles and joined in the festivity and spraying everyone while being sprayed with paint! With in the first 10 minutes we were covered head to toe in paint. The celebration went on for hours.. we walked through the town spraying eachother, dancing with locals and children to loud drumming and music, and just fully joining in the festivities. It was a memorable day that we will never forget. It was quite crazy walking around town the next few days seeing people still covered in paint as it takes about 3-4 days for it to wash off your skin and who know how long it takes to get out of your hair as I sitll have traces of the paint in my hair a month later!