So I'd played it a couple times at Emory with the Indian Cultural Exchange, but this was my first Holi in India. This Holiday ROCKS!
It's basically the celebration of the coming of spring so everyone buys or wears white. Then you get colored powders, water with coloring, and go around throwing it on people. A usual greeting goes like this. You walk up put some colored powder on their cheek forehead or feet (if you want to be REALLY respectful) and say hi. You can also just squirt them with colored water, make sure they are good and wet and colorful and then say hello and happy Holi. This is called Playing Holi. It's great because you get to run around and act like kids, it's a supped up powder/water war. Water guns and balloons are all so used. Anyone in white is an open target.
Avo, Sohini, and I headed over to Neela's house around 10:30am, picking up Aditi on the way (who was already a bit colorful) and really excited. We get to Neelas Garden. Set up the powders on open flat baskets, get a huge tub and fill it with water and add the coloring. The biggest problem was that there are two kinds of water colors. The ones that wash off and the ones that don't. Though we tried to hide them, Aditi kept getting into them and covering her hands with them and then smearing them on you. It started with just the 4 of us Neela, Stan and another french woman staying with Neela at the moment, but by the end Patrick, Lily (both British journalist in Cal for a year) Andy and Ravi (his boyfriend visiting from Ghana)a bunch of Neela's family and and a few others. Aneruit refused staunchly to leave his house.
-Hearing Aditi yelling out "Chinky" whenever Avo did . . .anything (he's from Nagaland and looks more east Asian)
-Andy after being thoroughly doused in pink dye which got into his contacts (not a problem according to him, just rose colored glasses) but made the whites of his eyes pink and his contacts golden looking.
-Being doused by water as soon as you started to dry, or being told you look too clean.
-Using wet powder to paint designs on people.
-Throwing cups of colored water on people.
-Attacking and running away from the retaliation, I also enjoyed attacking those running by.
-Watching Ravi who managed to look calm and composed even when 1/2 of his face was green and the other 1/2 was yellow.
-When Neela's mom came out after lunch and started to join in.
-People apparently really liked putting powder in my hair (I had it in 2 french braids), so that I'm still washing pink out of it 2 days later.
of course the clean up was incredible, and the next day you can tell anyone who played. pictures to come :)