India had been on my travel bucket list for as long as I could remember, so when it came time to finally visit the country, I was excited to not only go for a wedding but also during one of the most well-known festivals, Holi.
Also known as the Festival of Colors, Holi is a celebration that marks the coming of spring and promotes equality for all. The ancient festival dates back many centuries and symbolizes the victory of good overcoming evil. It also honors the legend of Holika and Prahlad.
I admit, prior to arriving in India, I was not aware of the history of Holi. The only thing I knew was that the festival involved throwing colored powder on one another and, for that reason alone, I was really excited. I mean, when else does one have the chance to throw colored powder on other people and not have those people yell at you? It was not until I actually took part in Holi that I gained a deeper understanding of its origins and the ways in which this holiday is celebrated.
While in Jaipur, my family and I visited the Govind Dev Ji Temple in the City Palace complex. The temple, built in the early 18th century, is where we witnessed a pre-Holi celebration that I can only describe as crowded, beautiful, vibrant, festive, fascinating and religious. It was such a memorable experience, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to be there.
On the eve of Holi, as my family and I drove from our hotel to a wedding event, we passed clusters of people gathered around glowing bonfires. Ritual says these fires rid the air of evil spirits and make way for the next day's joyous celebrations.
The day of Holi brought everything I imagined and more. People spilled out onto the streets, their clothing, hair and bodies covered in colored powder as young and old took part in the festivities.
I arrived at my Holi event dressed in a white outfit provided by the bride and groom. Within minutes, we went from this:
I was initially a little nervous about the powder getting in my eyes, hence the sunglasses, but any concerns were quickly forgotten as everyone got caught up in the colorful and playful atmosphere. Afterwards, musicians came out to play music as we danced around and enjoyed the rest of the celebration. It was one of those experiences that was not only fun but also exposed me to a new tradition that I will always think of fondly.