Informant: LL

Ethnicity: Jewish

Primary Language: English, Telugu

Age: 19

Text: [LL] Holi is a festival celebrating love, happiness, and color. It’s almost like Mardi Gras, where huge crowds of people really let loose and have fun throwing colors at each other. 

Context: The informant usually celebrates Holi with his adoptive family, where they have a party and throw colored powder at each other. However, the informant mentioned that the festival is also popular amongst his friends; he also noted that people from many different backgrounds have participated in the celebrations he has seen. He described it as a “crazy but joyful experience,” and overall felt a deeper sense of connection to his family and Indian culture through the festival.

Analysis: Taking place at the beginning of March, Holi is a springtime festival celebrating love and color after the end of winter. Holi is reminiscent of childhood activities like throwing water balloons at each other, presenting participants with the opportunity to reflect on their youth, aligning with these themes of rebirth and renewal during spring. Like many other Hindu festivals, Holi is rooted in religious beliefs. However, most modern participants are simply looking for a reason to let loose and enjoy themselves during the festivities. Participants in the festival throw colored powders and water at each other to celebrate the change of season; oftentimes, by the end of it, they are covered in so much color that they are nearly unrecognizable. For many, the festival fosters a sense of community and transcends the boundaries of social barriers such as race and class as a result of this anonymity as well as the fast-paced, playful nature of the festival.