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My INSANE Experience at Holi Festival in India

by Drew on April 16, 2015 2 comments

**Have you read my Ultimate Travel Guide to India yet? It has been viewed over 10K times! It has all my best resources, tips and advice for travel in India.** 

All around India at the beginning of Spring, is the annual Holi festival – A.K.A. an all-out paint war!

I arrived in India during the middle of the week-long celebration and I was delighted to be able to experience this fun festival.

Holi, also known as the Festival of Colors, has a long tradition which lies deeply in the Hinduism (a religion that was born in India). During the festival, all 1.25 billion Indian people play outside and splash each other with neon bright paint colors.

People chase each other in the streets, fields, temples and buildings, armed with packets of dry powdered paint and covering random people from head to toe in colors. It’s a complete free-for-all, and it’s really fucking fun!

Photo via “On the Go Tours” on Flickr

The festival date varies every year depending on the Hindu calendar, but it always occurs at the end of Spring. Sometimes, it falls in late February and other times it happens in the beginning of March. It occurs during this time of the year to signify good over evil, the end of winter and the arrival of spring.   It’s a time for people to play with their friends, laugh, meet others and forgets about any of their worries.

Anyone and everyone is fair game during Holi, including your mother, your mailman and the poor folks on the street. Some people get so into it that they carry water guns spiked with paint or colored water-filled balloons and drench their friends and enemies.

Photo via “Face Me” on Flickr

In addition to the paint war, people gather to march on the streets while playing drums and singing traditional songs. It’s almost like a festival + parade + concert + paint war at the same time.

The best part about Holi is the fact that everyone has a smile on their face, whether they are enjoying the company of their friends or chasing foes around the street. I’ve never seen any event that was this happy on such a big scale.  It’s amazing.

But if you think Holi is already crazy, then just wait until you hear the next thing that I’m about to tell you…

Holi is by NO means a sober event. Everyone gets intoxicated and high. (Yes, everyone gets high in India).

And I’m not just talking about beer or liquor – which are both commonly consumed during Holi. I’m talking about this stuff called Bhang, which is regularly consumed by many people during Holi. Bhang is a paste made up of cannabis leaves and mixed into drinks and sweets. Basically, it’s the same thing as eating an marijuana edible with THC and it gets your really, really stoned for hours.

So now, imagine this crazy all-out paint war and picture everyone stoned out of their minds. Sound crazy to you?

Who knew that this kind of thing existed in India? I surely had no idea about it until I visited India for myself. Which is why traveling is just awesome.

My Holi Experience:

I arrived in India the day after Holi began. Although the first day of Holi is known as the craziest, I still found myself in the thick of the war.

Different regions of India celebrate Holi differently, and the duration of the holiday depends on where you are. I happened to be in Goa, where they celebrate the festival for one week straight!

On my 2nd day in India, I was riding my motorbike along the beach and exploring new areas. In the distance, I came across a big field with people throwing paint all over each other. Even though I wasn’t dressed appropriately, I parked my bike and ran into the field all by myself.

It took me about .15 seconds to make local Indian friends after I was immediately slapped in the face with paint. Exactly like what you see in this photo.

Due to the heavy amounts of paint, I didn’t get any other quality photos of the Holi madness that I was in, but I am sure that you can imagine what it is like.

So most of the photos in this blog post I found on the Internet, but you can still see the madness of what it’s like.

All in all, Holi festival was an unforgettable experience and it was also a pleasant welcoming into India.

If you are planning a trip to India in the Spring, then you MUST plan it accordingly to experience Holi!

Have you ever been? What was your Holi experience? 

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Hello! Since 2012, I've been traveling and partying my way around 74+ Countries. Shortly after I graduated from The University of Wisconsin-Madison, I took a job as an English Teacher in South Korea for 18 months. Now, I'm traveling and blogging full-time on a never-ending voyage around the world. Please comment with any questions you have, and feel free to join me on Snapchat & Instagram @drewbinsky :)

DrewMy INSANE Experience at Holi Festival in India


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  • Himani Gaur - December 8, 2016 reply

    Hi Drew,
    Nicely articulated article on your experience of the festival of colors, Holi. it is indeed a festival marking the victory of good over evil as a demon was killed by a Hindu Deity( Lord Vishnu) on this day. It is a fun festival as on this day people play with lot of colors(powder and water) by throwing/applying at each other, people visit each other place like a big get together and prepare a lot of delicacies. Everyone is treated with love and equality during this festival. Thanks for visiting my country during the festivities and sharing your experience. visit my website to know more facts about Hinduism.

  • Smoking Hash & Weed in India - It's Common! - The Hungry Partier - May 16, 2015 reply

    […] the crazy annual festival called Holi, thousands if not millions of people drink Bhang and spash each other in neon paint. It’s so […]

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