Holi (Festival of Color) Comes to San Francisco
The Indian celebration of Holi (known throughout the west as the Festival of Colors) is a celebration that takes place in India every spring. Like many such springtime festivals throughout the world, Holi serves a multitude of purposes, such as proclaiming the victory of Good over Evil, the repairing of broken friendships, and—most importantly—the end of winter. Holi also acts similarly to Thanksgiving in that it is a time to celebrate the experience of a good harvest as well as the closeness of family and friends. While many elements of this festival may seem familiar, there is one thing, perhaps its most unique aspect, that sets it apart.
As mentioned above, in the west we often call Holi the Festival of Colors. This name comes from an event that takes place during the second of Holi’s two-day extravaganza. While the first day ends with a fairly solemn ceremony before a large bonfire where celebrants pray that evil will be vanquished, the following day features an all-out explosion of color. All bets are off in this dizzying display of exuberance and vitality. All the colors of the rainbow are in play as participants smear, spray, and douse one another with hues from purple to green to yellow to, well, you get the idea. While all this is going on, musicians carrying drums, flutes, and other noise making equipment travel throughout the villages and cities to entertain the revelers.
For those of us who are not planning on going to India this spring but who will be in the Bay Area, the non-profit group Asha for Education has partnered with the California College of the Arts to hold their own Holi day.
While the San Francisco version will not last two days, and while it does feature a modest entry fee of $20 (kids under 10 get in free), this family-friendly event is still a worthwhile adventure that will take your winter blues and transform them into a rainbow of joy. Food and drink will be available, and there will be plenty of music throughout the four-hour event to keep you dancing.
Also, every ticket comes with the bonus of UNLIMITED COLOR (color dyes are made using food-grade materials and are completely non-toxic as well as washable). At only $20, unlimited anything is a deal.
The Holi festival is being held on Saturday, March 31st, from 12:00 pm until 3:00 pm, at the California College of the Arts, located at 1111 8th Street in San Francisco. Tickets are available in advance through their website.