The Indian celebration of Holi was one of the best ways for me to end my experience in Hyderabad. Known as the festival of color, Holi signals the beginning of spring and for many represents an opportunity to let loose and be social with anyone one meets. The most well-known part of the festival, “playing Holi”, consists of throwing brightly colored powder on one another. Importantly, anyone is fair game during this celebration. Social barriers and norms fade away for a couple of hours as everyone takes part in making each others’ lives more colorful. This tradition has a long history behind it. During Mughal-ruled India, commoners of all castes would even throw color on the emperor. Today, the festival has been spread all over the world by the Indian diaspora, as well as the many non-Indians who also choose to take part.

I celebrated this holiday by going to a Holi event in Gachibowli, a neighboring part of the city with my friends. We made sure to dress in all white, and on the way there I noticed all the people with red, purple, green and yellow powder covering their clothes, hair and even face. The event was full of music, dancing and food. However, I was especially struck by how the festivities were not limited to Holi events like the one we attended. Everywhere in the city I could see people (especially children) on the street playing Holi. The entire city seemed to change character for this celebration.