Holi, India’s Festival of Colors

Holi, also known as India’s Festival of Colors, begins on the Phalgun Purnima, or the night of the first full moon in late February or early March. For those of you who haven’t looked up at the night sky recently, that means it’s this weekend.

Believed to have originated as long ago as 300BC, the legend-soaked event celebrates the arrival of spring and the promise of fertile fields. It also scares away laziness and sickness in the lives of Hindus. As part of the celebrations, Hindus enjoy bonfires (to kill bacterias in the body), throw brightly-colored powders in the air (to invoke the richness and bounty of spring), and drink and eat bhang (um…just for fun). In other words, it’s sort of like Mardi Gras for Hindus. Except without all the ta-tas.

Don’t understand what’s so fun about throwing around colored powder? Check out this ecstatic, exuberant clip from Mangal Pandey: The Rising and marvel at all the kaleidoscopic color.

Can’t make it to India this weekend? Apparently, Queens hosts an Americanized version of the event this Saturday and Sunday. FYI, don’t eat too much hot buttered bhang and collapse on your mother’s clean sheets. This is certainly not the time.