Holi, the Hindu festival of color, marks the arrival of spring for millions of people across the world. And, no, it’s not a $60 run that involves throwing color at each other, it serves a deep, cultural purpose, and brings renewal to the people with a forgive-and-forget mentality as they welcome warmer weather.

As I arrived to the India Association of San Antonio (IASA) Community Center, I was easily targeted – not because of my recent arrival but because of my clean clothes. Strangers’ hands were filled with vibrant colors of red, orange, purple, and blue and pressed into my cheeks and garments. Much like a cascarón during Fiesta, the dry pigment is thrown, sprinkled, and smashed into friends, family, and newly made acquaintances.

Holi celebrations in India, and across Southeast and East Asia, draw thousands of revelers to city streets.

In San Antonio, speakers blasted a form of Indian techno as hundreds of festive participants played chase, squirted water guns, and danced while throwing powder in the air. The air was soon polluted with hazy colors that never seemed to settle, the floor became a resting place for the particles in which children drew their names.

If you’ve never been to Holi before, I would recommend you wear white clothes that you don’t mind staining, bring a plastic bag for your electronic gadgets, and be prepared to make new friends. Holi should be experienced by everybody of any faith at least once, and it’s happening right here in San Antonio.


*Top Image: Ritvek, 7, stands in front of the camera after his entire face has been covered with colored powder.  Photo by Scott Ball. 

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Scott Ball

Scott Ball is San Antonio Report's photo editor and grew up in San Antonio.