Remember last year when everyone was wandering the streets of London covered from head to toe in bright colours? No, we’re not referring to a mind-bending zombie apocalypse-style acid trip, but the Holi Festival – the Hindu celebration that marks the first day of spring (17th March in 2014). Gulal (non-toxic, water-soluble and available to buy in bags at each event in various colours) is the technicolour substance that’s thrown at strangers. Who are part of the celebrations, obviously. Otherwise that would just be assault.
This year, London is going Holi crazy. Here are the five best London Holi festival celebrations to get involved in and get turning yourself into a walking Jackson Pollock.
The House of Holi
Starting on 13th March and continuing for 12 days, The House of Holi allows City workers to not miss out on the fun. So their suits don’t get splattered special protective suits have been created so that office workers can assemble in Devonshire Square and vent their frustration by pelting one another with colourful bombs. Cinnamon Kitchen will also be on hand, serving a five-course menu, while colourful cocktails are available at the bar, Anise.
Holi Celebrations at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir
The Neasdon temple is inviting everyone to join their celebrations, which will appeal to those who don’t want to get their clothes messy. Instead, the focus of the celebrations here is the purifying bonfire, which is sure to unite all who attend as they mark the welcoming of ‘new life’. Takes place on 16th March.
Holi and Gaura Purnima at Bhaktivedanta Manor
Celebrating Holi and Gaura Purnima the Bhaktivedanta Manor Krishna temple will host traditional drama, dance and music performances, while locals hand out free vegetarian food on 16th March. The thrown colours, synonymous with Holi, takes place at 4pm. In case you were wondering why colours, its in loving memory of the young Krishna, who enjoyed playfully showering people with colours. A bonfire is lit at 6pm in memory of Saint Prahlad who is a symbol of faith and purity because, according to legend, he was thrown into a fire by Holika but didn’t burn.
Dishoom Does Holi
March 23rd. Mark it in your diary and make sure you head on down to your nearest Dishoom. The much-loved Indian restaurant is celebrating Holi with traditional food, storytelling, music and art. Hawker House, home to the latest Dishoom instalment, will welcome guests with a spicy chai who will then be told ancient stories by Vayu Naidu before they’re given their gulal and decorate each other.
New venue, same fun. Similar to last year’s Festival of Colours at Battersea Power Station, Holi One takes place on 2nd August in Wembley Park. A colourful day (see what we did there?) that will be filled with music, dance, performance art and Pink Bikini, Juicy Orange and Violet Secret – the colours attendees will be chucking at each other.