My first Holi: Non-Indians share their (colourful) stories

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The Indian festival of colours is upon us, and with it come the great memories – the peals of laughter while playing with colour, the delicious snacks as you take a break from the water fights, the Bollywood hits that make every street a dancefloor… What a trip down memory lane!

Not to be left out from all the fun, tourists and travellers are more than happy to join in the celebrations. How was their first Holi?

“A memorable battle of colour”

When I participated in Holi, I was told that it was the traditional Indian festival in honour of the arrival of spring. I was in Pune on a high school exchange trip, and it was the first time that I had left the country, or even celebrated a holiday other than Christmas.

The day before Holi, in many different suburbs of the city, big fires were lit and all the neighbors sang and danced around. On Holi, I remember waking up to screams on the street – I stuck my head out of the balconies only to see children playing in the middle of the road, splashing colour on each other. The landscape was transformed into an open-air coloured carnival!

The party continued in a memorable battle of colour, with music playing all throughout the afternoon. It was a long day of laughs, smiles and lots of colours. An incredible experience!

Alain Okala, from France

READ ALSO: Why we need a festival like Holi

Source: Unsplash

“Covered in colour, no one cared I was white”

I participated in the crazy festival of Holi when I visited India. My left eye brow had a rather noticeable pink splotch and my stomach was green. Everyone participates – in fact my girlfriend and I were woken up by the cleaning lady who wiped pinks and greens on our cheeks and we had no idea what was going on!

The whole point of the dye is that once everyone is covered in colours, no one can be easily identified as being of a particular skin colour.  Some guys said to us, “Look, now you are no longer white – you are one of us!”  Yes well, now I’m no longer white – just very pink.  I kind of look like a boiled lobster, I thought.

Catherine Murphy, from Australia

samantha lu holi
Samantha Lu (second from right)

“It reminded me of Peruvian carnivals”

My first Holi was arranged with my student accommodation in my first year at Sydney Uni. I didn’t know what it was, just that it was an Indian festival of colour and water. I was told to wear to wear a white t-shirt because there was going to be a big colour fight, so of course I bought a $3 tee from K Mart just for this!

The event was awesome. We played with colour for almost an hour, I even got powder in my mouth! It reminded me of Peruvian carnivals at home, where people have water balloons and they have water fights on the streets.

For the next two weeks, there was colour everywhere, including my hair. It took ages to wash off. Ultimately, my first Holi was a great time – in fact, I still have the colourful t-shirt as a souvenir.

Samantha Lu, from Peru

READ ALSO: The ultimate Holi songs playlist (2021)

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