The Holi Day

Myself and Nitin at Portland State University Holi celebration in 2011

Happy belated Holi to all who celebrate it. It’s the festival of colors and known for Indians running around and throwing colors on each other, including strangers. If you are living in any major Indian city, you will get dyes thrown on you when you go out. Here’s a couple of scenes from Outsourced (which BTW I wasn’t too crazy about) and a scene from Idiot Abroad.

Mr. Todd is not the stupid, uptight, arrogant white guy. It’s a stereotype. The fictional Mr. Todd is doing much better compared to Karl Pilkington in Idiot Abroad. Speaking of stereotypes, I didn’t know that the British are okay with ridiculing themselves and people in their own culture. Everyone thinks of the prim and proper Englishman. That’s the older generation. I visited London. I still sometimes have a hard time understanding whether a British person is being serious or sarcastic.

The scenes shows people throwing so many bright colors and partying. As a person of Indian origin who grew up abroad, I sometimes feel weird about certain things in the subcontinent. I grew up in the diaspora world or Indian expat culture with mostly liberals. India is a foreign world to me sometimes.

These scenes depict Holi in the city or urban India. Indian villages are a completely different world. I always wanted to experience a glimpse in the Indian village. I remember the Bollywood movies of dacoits terrorizing the villages and the hero fighting them. Apart from Bollywood, my experience in the Indian village is limited.

Last year, I spent a week with several teenagers and three other teachers in a small village close to Hyderabad. That place is so small that it cannot be found on the map. Holi Day among villages mean dancing, time in the temple, and socializing. They don’t have as many colors.

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Myself with two ladies in the traditional tribal attire


They make their own clothes of colors and embellished with jewelry. White is the color of death and that’s what people wear to funerals. It seems in both urban India and rural India, jewelry is a status symbol. Gold is a status symbol for the middle class or wealthy. My relatives in India don’t understand why I don’t wear gold. It’s a cultural difference.

This video below is a worship service in a Christian church service in the village. Indians love to sing and dance in communal settings. The man is a preacher and his wife is teaching us a song and dance.

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