Holi Festival of Colour

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to attend a Holi festival but the chances of me making it to India this year were nonexistent. Not one to be easily deterred, I did a little research and found a festival not too far from Seattle at the Sanatan Dharma Temple and Cultural Center. I gathered a posse of close friends and made a trip down south to Maple Valley to join in the festivities. It was the most fun I’ve had in ages, with crowds of happy people, dancing, great food, outstanding music and wads of coloured powder to throw. I got splattered all shades of the rainbow and have a sneaking suspicion my hair may be streaked purple for the immediate future; here’s hoping I can rock the look. What a spectacular way to welcome springtime. Here’s some footage of the event to get you chomping at the bit to find a Holi Festival near you:

I took a ridiculous number of photos, but honestly, with a festival this colourful, how could I help myself? Here are some of the shots I got.

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holi, holi festival, festival of color, festival of colour, travel, ailsa prideaux-mooney, maple valley

holi, holi festival, festival of color, festival of colour, travel, ailsa prideaux-mooney, maple valley

holi, holi festival, festival of color, festival of colour, travel, ailsa prideaux-mooney, maple valley

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holi, holi festival, festival of color, festival of colour, travel, ailsa prideaux-mooney, maple valley

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holi, holi festival, festival of color, festival of colour, travel, ailsa prideaux-mooney, maple valley

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holi, holi festival, festival of color, festival of colour, travel, ailsa prideaux-mooney, maple valley

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I got so many wonderful photos, I had to do a follow-up post about the littlest festival-goers.

Happy Holi.

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About ailsapm

Hi there! I’m Ailsa Prideaux-Mooney. I’ve lived in many places, and travelled to many more. I had a lot of fun getting there and being there, wherever there happened to be at the time. I climbed a castle wall in Czesky Krumlov, abseiled down cliffs to go caving in the west of Ireland, slept on the beach in Paros, got chased by a swarm of bees in Vourvourou (ok that wasn’t fun, but it was exciting), learned flower arranging in Tokyo, found myself in the middle of a riot in Seoul, learned to snowboard in Salzburg, got lost in a labyrinth in Budapest and had my ice cream stolen by a gull in Cornwall. And I’m just getting started. If you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read so far, I’d love you to follow my travelogue - wheresmybackpack.com - and remember, anyone who tries to tell you it’s a small world hasn’t tried to see it all.
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84 Responses to Holi Festival of Colour

  1. Many Cha Cha Michelle says:

    The photos are fab! The colours look especially striking against the forest background.

  2. Low Quay says:

    Lovely picures!! Holi is without a doubt my favourite festival! This year my colleagues and I went a little overboard with the celebrations. Best one yet 🙂

  3. Hi,
    great photos. Been to India many, many times but never for Holi. Must be fun 🙂

  4. ledrakenoir says:

    Amazing photos, excellent captured… 😉

  5. lensaddiction says:

    Love the hands shot, and SO MANY SMILES!

  6. Michelle Saba says:

    Sent from my iPhone

  7. Great photos, great colors ! 🙂

  8. I have read about this and saw some pictures on Instagram but yours are fantastic!

  9. dorothyadele says:

    What is the significance of the festival?

  10. What a great excuse for adults to go out and be silly!

  11. Lucid Gypsy says:

    I wonder if it is as civilised in India?

  12. I only know of Holi from movies and have always wanted to figure out how to be part of such an incredible celebration- want a fantastic idea to find a festival not far from you. I love your photographs and am inspired to think about this next year!!!

    • ailsapm says:

      I decided I couldn’t wait until I could afford a trip to India, so went online and searched for something local. Hurrah for Google. 🙂

  13. Debi says:

    I am from India and never got around to taking holi pictures. One of these days I want to go to Rajasthan or Vrindavan for Holi. Give me a shout if you are planning to come.

  14. It seems like many cultures have some kind of festival/ceremony where they ecstatically indulge in colors, sounds, movement…. these pictures remind me so much of carnival in Trinidad and Tobago and even a little bit of Fasching (carnival) in Germany, although the latter is dominated by a lot of weird masks – still, color and alter-egos bloom…..

  15. viveka says:

    Yes, bring on the colors …. not enough of them in our world .. bring on the laughter and the fun .. bring on more festivals … bring on life. Your photos is so brilliant … about tradition, color and people.

  16. hemadamani says:

    Lovely, colorful pictures. caught the true spirit of Holi -fun, gaiety and a bit of romance!! Hope.. no I’m sure, you had a lot of fun!! 🙂

  17. pudpalmer says:

    Such happy photos, looks like so much fun.

  18. tilde531 says:

    Fabulous opportunity for you and fabulous of you to share the experience with us through photos, too! This was the first I’d heard of the festival… I intend to be prepared NEXT year!

  19. bluebrightly says:

    I had no idea we had one so near – good for you for researching it, and maybe I’ll get there next year. I’m so glad you went!

  20. Lovely photos. I went to Holi this afternoon. Busy loading up the photos. What fun!

  21. Pingback: Holi Festival of Colours, Durban South Africa | Andy: Photographer, Traveller & Chef

    • ailsapm says:

      Thanks, Andrew, your post is wonderful, how great that they played Holi right on the beach, it looks like you had an amazing time, Hope your camera recovered!

  22. This pix are awesome and the video is such fun!
    Absolutely great shots!

  23. Hi Alisa, Was lovely to see these pics. i have lived all my life in India and truly love the colours of Holi. It was such a pleasant surprise to see a post by you on it. in fact I did a post on Holi too, but a different aspect. http://justanotherwakeupcall.wordpress.com/2013/03/27/dont-save-water-save-holi/

    • ailsapm says:

      How beautiful to read about your experiences playing Holi when you were growing up, Sapna, and how sad to hear what message your son is being given at school today. We should never lose the ability or desire to play. Now, if only the colours were all eco-friendly 🙂

  24. M. says:

    Hi I’m from India and every March, look forward to playing Holi. The north of India celebrates it more vigorously than the south. Hence, I haven’t played it for the past two years, having shifted to the south. But it’s absolute fun! In fact, all the years that I stayed in Delhi, I realised that people there begin the festivities a week in advance. So you have to be aware and smart to dodge water balloons from rooftops and moving cars. They don’t care whether you’re dressed for work or not. If you’re out on the streets unguarded, you’re a target. Apart from that, playing Holi on the main day is crazy fun! It also makes way for a very scrumptious lunch and a blissful sleep thereafter! Great pictures by the way!

  25. Oh, my goodness – so much fun! I wish I’d thought to look for a Holi festival near us – it would have brightened up our weekend for sure!

  26. tempnuala says:

    I was in Jaipur, for Holi, last year and it was great fun but could not take my camera out for exactly that problem the Indian contributor indicated – the water bombs from the balconies of buildings. Another young photographic student who was staying in the same place as me had his small, but very expensive, camera completely ruined. As the day wears on the young guys on the streets become somewhat agressive also. But it is an amazing experience.

    • ailsapm says:

      I was a little fearful for my camera too, but thankfully it survived. This Holi festival was on an expanse of grass so there was nowhere to launch water bombs from above so that made it easier. I bet Jaipur was amazing, I can’t wait to see it for myself some day. xxx

  27. Gwen. says:

    Wow I love this. I always think I have to travel to the far corners of the earth to have experiences like this. Thanks for reminding me that I don’t have to go far to experience unique culture.

    • ailsapm says:

      It’s true, Gwen, sometimes the best adventures are to be had right on your own doorstep. I was thrilled when a quick internet seach pulled up the local temple and the info about their Holi festival, hurray for Google. 🙂

  28. abraalani says:

    I love that were only as far as Maple Valley when you took these! Looking at them (I was looking at your photos before reading what you’d written above, I’ll admit it!) I imagined you far away, on the other side of the world. I agree with Gwen, thank you for reminding us that you don’t always have to look very far to experience something new.
    I drive to Maple Valley three days a week for work, but I never once thought about seeking out and experiencing new things so close to home. Really great job!

    • ailsapm says:

      It’s pretty cool that all this was just a short car ride away, isn’t it? Believe it or not, I actually found two other places over on the east side – Bellevue has two places that hold Holi festivals and I was talking to two girls at the Maple Valley Holi who told me the UW celebrated Holi for the first time this year too.

  29. Debi says:

    Just had a couple of pictures from Holi

    http://wp.me/p3eYZe-40

  30. fgassette says:

    Very colorful, happy and festive photos.

    BE ENCOURAGED! BE BLESSED!

    • ailsapm says:

      I can’t help but break out in a big smile every time I look at these shots. What a great way to welcome the springtime. 🙂

  31. Jodi says:

    This looks epic! I’ve participated in a Diwali celebration, now I’m adding Holi to the list! Thanks for sharing and happy travels!

  32. Dauw says:

    Hi Ailsa, maybe I’m too curious, but did they tell you which pigments they use? They’re so bright and varied…
    I truly love these pictures. Enchanting and energetic as Spring itself.
    I never heard about this festival before, so you learned me something new. Thanks!

  33. Wonderful photos! Why are we all so afraid of color? They are all having so much fun.

  34. Pingback: Holi Festival of Colours, Durban South Africa 2 | Andy: Photographer, Traveller & Chef

  35. anantha says:

    well, got your feet wet now, rather coloured, time to experience it at the PLACE itself.
    Welcome to India !! Be warned, Holi happens more in the Northern India and not as much down in the south where I am.

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