Holi Goes Global, and Hipster - OZY | A Modern Media Company

Holi Goes Global, and Hipster

By Sanjena Sathian


Because who doesn’t love a colorful, kaleidoscopic party?!

Willingly throw color at people. Dance around in the streets. Get a little drunk. This is Holi! The Indian fête that celebrates springtime, the harvest and the end of a cold winter.

Officially, Holi is way over on the subcontinent — it was in March — but for most of the rest of the world, it’s been way too cold to throw colorful-powder-mixed-with-cold-water at one another. As the true warmth seeps in, Holi celebrations are going on from New Jersey to Chicago to San Jose. And, they’re evolving. 

The small-town-India agricultural festival is now officially getting hipster-fied. We caught up with Jack Langerman, a computer science student at New York University, who has brought the thing to Brooklyn, with hip music — local artists like Branchez, the Skins and Charcole Federation — and a Burning Man vibe (at least on the Facebook page). Disclaimer: Langerman (who has not yet been to India) says this is not where to go for the “traditional” thing. For that, try NYC Bhangra if you’re in the city or any of the other events worldwide listed below. But it is where to go to see just how this thing has blown up for a whole new demographic. And as Langerman says, to get at the “core principles” behind the party: the “end of long, harsh winter, unity, happiness for all.”


It’s taking place on May 9 at 1020 E. 48th St. in Brooklyn. Tickets run from $10 to $30 depending on how early-bird or late-bird you are — and powder is included. They’re expecting 4,000 this year. Wear old clothes, and maybe sunglasses if you’re prickly about stuff getting in your eyes. Oh, and if you’re really hankering for the tradition-meets-get-f’d-up experience, maybe hold a pregame party and try a nice bhang lassi ahead of time.  

Holi celebrations (not too late!) round the world!

VPS Holi Function , Holbrook, Massachusetts (outside Boston): May 2

Holi Garden Festival , San Antonio, Texas: May 20

Holi Festival of Colours , Dublin, Ireland: June 27

Holi ONE – WE ARE ONE Colour Festival , Johannesburg, South Africa: May 1

Holi Festival of Colours , Lima, Peru: May 9

Holi Garden Festival , Ibiza, Spain: May 20

Holi-Gaudy Festival , Zürich, Switzerland: May 16

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