Holi Hai 2015, Busan


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I can’t think of a better way to emerge from a long winter slumber in Korea and fully embrace spring than to attend the Holi festival at Haeundae Beach in Busan.

On March 22nd, 2015, more than 2,500 people gathered on the beach to celebrate Holi, the Indian festival of colors, unity, spring harvests and general merry-making. The event was first created in 2011 by Indians in Korea (IIK) and has since grown to involve participants from over 40 countries; thus, making it a global festival. Associated with various Hindu mythological themes, Holi is a Hindu festival albeit the least religious. On one full moon’s night in early spring every year, everyone in India is united under a downpour of colors for unadulterated fun.

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On Sunday, as the crowd and DJ counted down together, my stomach filled with butterflies, and I felt the initial surge of adrenaline pumping through my veins. When “Happy Holi” was roared at the end of the countdown, a couple thousand hands pummeled colored powder into the air and for a few seconds, everything became a hazy slew of rainbow colors.

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From my friend, Alisha: “Holi was an amazing experience. I can’t wait to come back again next year!
Such a great festival to be a part of!”​​​​

Shortly after, the DJ started spinning Bollywood and fusion electronic tunes you might hear in Mumbai’s hottest clubs. The crowd was wild and ecstatic with energy, laughter and happiness! Various soul trains began to snake their ways through the crowds, dance circles broke out and individuals walked around blessing your face with a handful of colored powder or wet paint. This celebration continued for three hours straight with the core dancers exuberating admirable stamina and others trailing off to the side to rest or visit the sea.

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For a 10,000 won entrance fee, IIK hands you a cap, a packet of a solid color, two deliciously spiced Samosas and a chilled Cola. Personally, it was the best 10k I spent all of March. As an Indian born in Kenya, raised in the U.S and living in Korea, I’ve always wanted to participate in a Holi festival and for my first one, I was swept away! The myriad of colors and beaming faces left me buzzing for days after the festival. For those wanting to get involved next year, visit http://holihai.net/index.php.

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