If you notice gaggles of brightly colored folks running around Downtown on Saturday, don’t be alarmed: The Holi festival is coming to town. Thanks to the Indian Student Association at South Alabama, in conjunction with the History Museum of Mobile’s Ark of India exhibit, Holi is making its way across the world to the Port City. Here’s some facts and info you should know:
1. Holi has origins in ancient Hinduism.
Today, though, the festival of color is celebrated all over the world. It marks the beginning of spring, and honors the time when Lord Krishna and His devotees threw colors on one another. Millions of people participate in this event annually to celebrate love, friendship and the triumph of “good over bad.”
2. You’ll probably get messy.
One of the hallmarks of Holi is the throwing of brightly colored powder on one another’s hair, clothes and skin. (Just avoid the eyes.) Festival-goers are welcome to sit on the sidelines to try and prevent getting color on them, but there’s no guarantee. It is recommended to wear clothes that can get messy, as the colors might stain. Group color throws will take place at noon, 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. The non-toxic, skin-friendly colored powder will be provided for $1. Do not bring your own powder.
3. Prepare for some touchy-feely warm fuzzies.
They mean it when they call Holi a festival of love. Attendees are encouraged to hug strangers (with permission) and to ask each other “May I lovingly decorate your face and recolor your hair?” The colorful festival is designed to bridge the social gap after all.
4. It’s kid friendly.
There will be games, a water activity and fun for each member of the family. Just be sure to take extra care with the little ones as they throw colors.
5. Indian food will be available for purchase.
So come hungry. Now how do you pronounce baingan bharta, again?
6. Admission is free.
7. And don’t forget the basics.
Saturday, March 21 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Fort Conde (111 S. Royal St.) in Downtown Mobile. Park on the street or in the lot across from Fort Conde. Click here for more information.