So its that time of the year again when my inbox is full of messages and queries from my expat friends on Dos and Don'ts of Holi. Starting from whether its safe to play Holi to what it is etc. So this time around I thought I should just answer all the questions in one go. And also to crush some viscous myths around it.
And while at it, I will also fill you in on a party I have planned. :D
Q1. Can I/ should I celebrate Holi?
A: Yes, absolutely! Holi is a the festival of colors that celebrates the different shades in a persons life.
It would be a shame to be in India and not experience it atleast once. Many have asked me if one needs to be a follower of Hin du religion to take part in it. Frankly speaking, No. While it is a hindu festival, over the years the essence of Holi has changed from being religious to social. So any one from any religion can enjoy this colorful day.
Q. How do I play holi? What do I need?
A: You simply take a hand full of colors and smear your friends with it. Paint away your friends in your favorite colors. Two things to note here. There are mainly three types of Holi --
Dry holi where you play with dry powdered colors called Gulaal. They easily available in any street store before the festivaL. Gulaal is easy to take off after the festival, unless shopkeepers mix some hard colors in it.
Wet Holi: It is as exciting as it sounds, pun intended. XD Well its basically when you mix colours in water to make them water colors that you can spray at people with water guns or by throwing water balloons at them. They are a bit stronger and therefore take longer to remove, but as long as you avoid getting them in your eyes, you should be fine,
Dirty Holi: These are celebrated in close groups mostly amongst friends, where no one knows what people are using for color. it could be mud, grease or worse. For newbies I suggest you stir clear of dirty holi parties.
Q : What should I wear, how should I prepare?
A : White should be the color of your choice as it best brings out the other colors. Try to pick an old disposable white dress or shirt that you wont miss when its destroyed by the party.
When it comes to other preps, I would suggest people with long hair to put on hair oil and tie them up tightly before stepping out of the day. The oil helps you take off the color easier later, and the tied hair prevents dry colour to settle on your scalp.
Q: How safe is Holi? Are the streets safe to venture out?
A: Mostly yes. Foreign media does a good devil's advocate job by scary tourists off Holi, but for the most part the city is safe. People DO however throw colors at you, sometimes even without asking. It is not to endanger you but as a show of friendship or brotherhood. It is a gesture to include you in their celebrations.
But Holi gets its bad name from an occasional bunch of drunken fools who go out of control. To be on the safe side, dont venture out alone. If you have trusted local friends, play holi with them, and don't join any Holi partty of strangers unless you know atleast the host or a few people that who you can sue later if anything goes wrong. On the brighter side, because of unruly situations and past reports, police are pretty active on the occasion, so streets are mostly safe.
Now coming to the safety of colors. There are a bunch of shops that sell organic colors (yes they exist), so if you have sensitive skins, I would advise you to play with them. They are costly, but saves you from skin damage and a cosmetic surgery later.
Q: Is bhaang harmful? Can I try it?
A:Bhaang is as harmful as any intoxicating substance.Done in moderation gives you a great time, over doing it sends you crashing to the ground or worse. If you stay clear of such stuff, don't try it. But if you dont mind a bit of a drunken fun, please go ahead. Its a traditional drink made from fruits and extracts from a plant that is a relative of Marijuana, hence the intoxication. If you do try, make sure you are amongst trusted friends, preferably some locals and there is one sobre guy or girl out there with you. Dont drink bhaang and drive.
Q: Where do I play Holi?
A: Most people have their own close circles they hang out with, families or societies play holi together. Apart from that you have dozens of Holi parties where DJs come and turn up the beats. The tickets are sold ahead through the major online ticketing portals. Juhu is popular spot. At the core of it all, its the group. Once you have that sorted, the place and colors just fall into place.
And you don't have that group and are still clueless how to go about it, come join me tomorrow (23rd March) night at my place for a PRE HOLI PARTY at Malad W. Me and some of my friends plan to drink and play games all night and step out next morning to any Holi parties that still have tickets available to shower some colors.
All you have to do is bring some white clothes to wear the next day, and your alcohol of choice for the night as it is BYOB. If you are interested in drop me a message on Protected content details!
Holi Hai! (Its Holi Time! ^_^)
Call on these numbers for details: