Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Barcelona - The Holi Festival II.

We have already been to a Holi Festival with Paul earlier this year but unfortunately we got there too late and the festival had already finished. That time it was free and there was Indian dancing and Bollywood singers on the stage. It looked like it was a great event so when I saw that there was another one I bought tickets for us straight away.

The Holi Festival originates from India. It is celebrated at the end of the winter season on the day of the last full moon which usually happens late February/ early March. Thousands of Hindus take part in this festival every year to celebrate the beginning of a new season, spring and to enjoy its many colours. The celebrations last two days and people throw scented powders and perfumes on each other and light bonfires. During the festival the social barriers are lifted and the young and old, men and women, rich and poor celebrate together.

This is what the Holi Festival in India is about. The tradition however went worldwide together with the emigrating Indians who took the Festival with them. Soon other races realised that throwing coloured powder while listening to loud music is actually great fun and the whole thing turned into entertainment. Nowadays there’s a company that organises the Holi Festival in 25 countries in Europe and I might be cynical but it seems that all the ‘tradition’ has been taken out of it.

As we’ve never been part of it before we still wanted to go and see it. You could buy tickets to enter the scene, tickets with powder (5 little bags, apparently one is free, how lucky we are!) and tickets with powder and a festival t-shirt. I bought one of the first two options.

On the day of the Festival we chose carefully what to wear. It is advised to wear white so that the colours show up nicely on the clothes however you can be sure that what you wear will be completely ruined. It was quite a sight to see so many people wearing white in front of the venue.

We got in, collected our powder bags and went to explore the area.

The ‘currency’ of the event were tokens that you could use at one of the stalls. You could spend your tokens on drinks, food, more powder, face mask or a festival T-shirt.

The sun was shining all afternoon, it was about 29 degrees. There was a ‘Shower’ room where you could cool down…

…or free water hoses that could be used by anybody. This security guard took it upon himself to spray down whoever comes close.

Most people were congregating in front of the stage…

…but the background party was around the hoses.

There were 5 DJs playing on the stage one after another in a 2 hour set. In every hour a presenter came to the stage. He asked everybody to get their powder bags ready, then after a countdown everybody threw the powder in the air. The sight was incredible.

There were long bars on the side and many options for food. My favourite was this giant paellera full of chicken paella, this is what we had at the end of the day.

There was Indian food on offer, too, probably the only Indian bit of the whole event but it wasn’t a popular choice.

The powder that people throw at each other is not dangerous but it’s still advisable to cover your eyes and mouth. We didn’t have any protection and sometimes it was quite hard to breath.

Overall it was a great event, we had a lot of fun. We were covered in paint by the end and were tired from all the dancing. Let me show you the rest of the photos from the festival. Enjoy.


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