India is a land that has forever fascinated the world. Be it its vibrancy or spirituality, festivities or celebrations, the culture of the country is rich enough to entice all. Among the festivals celebrated in India, the one that holds everyone in its unique awe is the Festival of Colors- Holi. So much so that the occasion does not remain confined only within the country.
With globalisation gaining pace and revelry being more revered, the Holi festivities have spread to different parts of the world. Encompassing the spirit and essence of the festival, countries all over have come up with their own Holi fiestas that are indeed as diverse as they can be. Spring fests, autumn carnivals, bi- annual, month- long merry making characterise the color splash in these offbeat celebrations. Irrespective of the celebratory genre though, Holi remains the quintessential spread of the color of love. Here are 10 amazing festivals around the world that celebrate every color of Holi-
Holi Run festival, Madrid
The closest we would think Holi could ever be to Spain would be the nation’s famed La Tomatino Festival. Thanks to Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, we got not only #friendshipgoals and #travel goals but also specifically #spaintravelgoals. But throwing tomatoes aren’t the only fun Indian like thing to do in Spain. The country has its own celebrations of the festival of colors and the Holi Run Festival is indeed one such festive occasion.
Celebrated once in spring and also in autumn, Spain joins in the fun and revelry of the festival of colors with its indigenous Holi Run festival. Designed to be quite the fun run, the celebrations has revellers running some and sprayed with coloured powders every kilomete. The event culminates in the big festival of colour or the ‘Holi Boom’.
This isn’t another Holi celebration per se but rather the traditional observance of a festival indigenous to Thailand. The world’s biggest water fight or Songrkran is in fact the celebration of the Thai New Year. But with its theme of bursting water balloons and indulging in fun water frights, Songrkran indeed comes relatively close to the Holi celebrations in India.
Though Holi in its country of origin is mostly interpreted as gulaal or the colored powders, splashing colored water on people is as ‘vital’ an element of the frenzied celebrations. Dousing people with water, with pichkaris in India or water guns in Thailand, occupy an important part of the ritualistic celebrations in both countries.
Holi Garden Festival, Ibiza
The picturesque Ibiza region of Spain is home to another offbeat celebration of the Holi festival. Zesty music and colorful gaiety marks the spirited observance of the much loved festival in an unusually beautiful Benimussa Park that very much encompasses the feel- good vibes in Ibiza.
The celebrations are a bit diverse however, with merrymaking not confined to just a couple of days. Festive exuberance grips the town every Monday in summer with revelers swaying to live music while sipping on cocktails. However, the pure Holi vibes are felt only after sunset when colors detonate on an eclectic crowd swaying on the dance floor to some really superb music. Fun and spirited, the Ibiza sun and the breathtaking aura sure proves to be the perfect setting to be party to this exclusive kaleidoscope of hues and colors. Just the drench of color the world needs!
Life in Color, Florida
Florida’s much touted ‘Life in Color’ celebrations might not be an extension of the Holi merrymaking like in India but with its similar traits of fun drenched in color, the event does come close to the festival of the colors in its observance and spirit.
‘The world’s largest paint party’ as it is known, Life in Color is indeed a concert tour but incorporating an invigorating paint party as well. Musicians and artists dish out enthralling performances even as the organisers go about their signature paint spraying of the audience, urged to be dressed in white, throughout the show. The paint blast is a really big feature of the event, with even a countdown lead up to the fun blast of paint and confetti!
Mumbai color festival, Netherlands
Netherlands has its own heritage to boast of behind the ushering in of celebrations drenched in vibrant colors and flamboyant tinges. The observance of the Dutch Liberation Day on the 5th of March every year is interpreted in the Dutch city of Utrecht as the Mumbai Color Festival. The very name that harbours the celebrations is certainly an indicator of just how much of the Indian takeaway steeps up this annual extravaganza.
Celebrating freedom and liberty in its spirit, the Liberation Day could not have been closer to any other festival in essence. The day is a celebration of freedom from all bondages of race and caste, creed and ethnicity marked with multi hued festivities, much like the Holi traditions of India. With the majestic setting of the captivating Fort Vechten, the Mumbai color festival is indeed a beautiful ode to the values of equity and the culture of India.
Festival of Colors in Oceanside, CA
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The rich cultural heritage of India comes to life in this hippie’s paradise known to the world as the Festival of Colors. Prominently musical with vibrant undertones, the California event is an amalgamation of good times and even better vibes. It’s more of a festival that explores things that are local to the core though. Up on offer are art and craft, food and drinks, music and dance to plunge into, all while being drenched in love and color, in body as well as in spirit.
Holi one festival, London
London’s Holi one festival is another eye catching gorgeousness featuring a splash of colors on a white canvas- the canvas being festive reveers all dressed in white! That itself speaks about the eager involvement of the masses in this western interpretation of the Indian festival of spring celebrated with a riot of fun and colors.
Like all other Holi festivals, Holi One also has music, dance and arts imbibing the colors of the grand celebration. The smear of colors remain the same, meticulously dousing crowds at intervals, with a glorious mess of celebration unfolding on all spirited folks out there to have some fun.
Holi One is not however a spring festival and is held only in August, with the advent of summers. The essence though remains the same- to bind people with an universal sense of brotherhood and unity, all while lauding the zest colors can bring in to the world.
Phagwa, Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidad and Tobago seems to be closer to India when traditional Holi celebrations take over every spring. The history of Holi in the island nation is far fetched, dating back to 1845 and the custom continues till date with Hindus in the country still cherishing their roots every once in a while.
Known locally as Phagwa, Holi here is even surprisingly akin to the celebrations in India. In fact, the festival is also known as Phagwah even in some Indian dialects. Folks in Trinidad and Tobago sings Chowtal folk songs accompanied also by the dholak (a hand drum) and the majeera (cymbals or percussion instrument). High pitched and swaying, the songs encompass the boisterous spirit of the festival celebrated with gusto in the multi ethnic landscape of Trinidad and Tobago. What’s more, the ritual of Holika Dahaan also finds expression in the twin island nation. Holi could never have gone more Indian!
Holi in Sabadell, Spain
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Spain seems to be most enticed with India’s colorful spirit as is evident in the numerous Holi celebrations held in different parts of the country. The most remarkable among them is the festivities in Sabadell, not because it is the oldest but because it upholds the significance and essence of the traditions and customs associated with Holi.
The Sabadell celebrations of Holi happen in sync with the event in India, celebrating the bounty of spring and held annually in March. Indian music and food, as well as cultural origins and history that has shaped up the festival since long find centre stage in the merrymaking in Sabadell which has been coloring it up since over a decade now!
The Colour Run, London
London’s tryst with the Holi revelry goes all frenzied and upscaled with the Color Fun festival. Much like Madrid’s Holi Run, the Color Run also has upbeat revelers go all white while they run a five kilometer street and get sprayed by color with every kilometer covered. Either it be some sort of conscious effort or simply a shot at fun, Holi celebrations in the United Kingdom are pure frenzy.