Holi 2013: A Spring Festival of Colors at Santa Cruz MAH

On Saturday, March 30, 2013, approximately 150 people squeezed into the back patio at the Museum of Art & History for Santa Cruz’s premier Holi celebration. Participants had a wonderful time smearing friends and strangers alike with gulual, vibrant pigmented powders made from natural materials, and briefly dancing to bhangra beats.

Holi, a Hindu festival of colors, is primarily observed in India, Nepal and other locations around the world with large Indic diaspora populations. It is commemorated by throwing pigmented powders on the last full moon day of the lunar month “Phagun” (February/March) at the end of the winter to commemorate spring’s arrival. People of all ages participate, though it is highly anticipated by Indian youth who start celebrating Holi almost a week before the actual festival day.

Krishna, a mischievous prankster, is one of the most widely revered of all Indian divinities. Holi commemorates Krishna’s pranks, and creates space for a momentary freedom to drop inhibitions and simply play and dance.