The palm of his hand crossed my face firmly – my earlobe and jaw line stained brightly. I knew then, that this was a moment I wouldn’t forget; the kind of memory that lingers in your consciousness like the smell of yellow curry, fragrantly spiced, coated on your fingertips long after the meal is finished. I looked up at him. He was smiling slyly as he turned away from me, his back shrinking in the distance as he walked away. Finally, after rebounding from the shock of his assault, a forgiving smile curled across my lips. The crying out from those around me mimicked cheers, their bodies crowding in on me. As if on cue, I reached into my pouch, filled with a silky smooth orange powder. My hand sprang from the small bag, whipping over my head toward the sky as I screamed, “Happy Holi!”
Bursts of bright orange, yellow, fuchsia, emerald green and electric blue filled the air in small clouds, puffing above our heads. Our skin, once a blank canvass of its own complexion, was a splattered rainbow of powdered hues at the Indian celebration, Holi Hai.
Holi Hai is a tradition derived from the Hindu religion. There are several legends linked to the creation of this holiday, here’s one. Simply put, it is a celebration of spring, happiness, friendships and positive things to come. It is a release of old man winter, misfortunes and bad habits, and it’s a time to forgive.
Busan, South Korea’s second largest city, celebrates this Indian holiday annually at Haeundae Beach. This was my first Holi Hai celebration. The day was a perfection of warmth and sunshine with an atmosphere of lightheartedness and laughter – a population of mosaic smiles by the masses. If you ever get the chance to partake in a Holi Hai event, don’t hesitate – just do it! Until the next installment, Happy Holi, everyone!
(Check out their Facebook page for more pictures and information, but the event has passed.)
Have you ever been to a Holi Hai celebration? If so, where, when and how was your experience?
One Last Glance For Your Viewing Pleasure: The quick snapshots that I took with my smartphone did not, by any means, do the event justice. However, the amazing photography of Nathan Chesky did that and then some!