This year, Holi began on the evening of March 1st, and ends on the evening of March 2nd. And if you’re unfamiliar with Holi … maybe the Color Run will ring a bell.
(More specifically, we’re talking about the Color Run that bastardized this Hindu holiday in favor of Insta-worthy pics and good ol’ fashioned gentrified fun, capitalizing on the tradition of throwing colored powders and eliminating the religious and historical background.)
But let’s get back to that later
Holi is celebrated throughout the world and is colloquially known as the “festival of colors.” While there are a number of communities that celebrate in various ways, the core of the holiday revolves around celebrating the coming of spring, and features the immensely popular throwing of colored powders.
The Indian diaspora brought Holi around the globe — to Africa, South America, Europe, and North America. Cities across the US are hosting Holi celebrations, introducing an opportunity for people of Indian origin to honor and share their culture.
Colonizers be colonizing
This fascination with Holi and the beautiful visuals of throwing colored powder can turn into straight-up appropriation. Take the Color Run. As Kainat Akmal states, events like the Color Run yank out the “fun” parts of an important religious holiday, without actually mentioning the original context.
Amal delineates appreciation and appropriation as simply as one possibly could. “Cultural appreciation requires an invitation into the culture, while cultural appropriation is a colonial move that takes an aspect of culture for yourself”.
So if you do want to get that Insta-worthy shot (and we’ll admit, the colors are beautiful), we encourage you to find events in your area that are celebrating and appreciating Holi, not appropriating it.
— Chery Sutjahjo, editor, who admittedly participated in the Color Run back in 2012 (sorry)