Expats, foreigners in Delhi soak in Holi’s colours, musicMarch 11th, 2009 - 9:31 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, March 11 (IANS) Hundreds of foreigners, mostly expatriates and vacationers, celebrated Holi in the capital Wednesday with coloured powder, traditional food, drinks and music throughout the day.
Fusion was the theme as the music, food and drinks from the East fused with the West to form a unique celebration as the expats and foreign visitors smeared one another with coloured powder, sprinkled coloured water, gorged on sweetmeats, ‘bhang’ and beer in up-scale areas that have a sizeable expatriate population.
“This is an amazing festival- Europe and America do not have festivals of colours. We love the freedom of it, the spirit of togetherness and informality,” said Gregory Scultz, a German businessman who has been in India for the past one year.
Gregory, who lives with his wife Daphne and a son in Defence Colony, hosted a Holi party at his residence for a few close friends.
The food was Indian, but the music and beverages were imported. The revellers - nearly 50 of them, mostly expatriates from Europe, and a few Indians - also went to the Birla temple to pray and make offerings of flowers and sweets.
At a party in a farmhouse in Chhattarpur, christened the Holy Cow festival, sponsored by German beverage major Jagermeister, more than 200 foreigners played with colours, danced and had their heart’s fill of delicacies like chaat, Bombay pav, bhel puri, kulfi malai and aloo tikki - traditional food associated with the festival.
The high point of the Holy Cow bash was live fusion music festival featuring bands like Djuma Sound System from Denmark, Bass Foundation (India and Britain), East India Co (India), Teddy Boy Kill, Aftershock International and Advaita, which jammed with drum players from neighbouring Haryana and didjeridoo musicians from the capital.
Thomas, a student from England vacationing in India, summed it up as “simply crazy”.
“It’s really crazy. I have never seen so many colours,” said the tall young man, sharing a charpoy with three of his European friends.
He was clad in a white kurta and loose pants, which he had bought especially for the festival. “I love the spirit of the festival,” said Thomas.
Benjamin, a trainee professional who has been in India for two weeks, said he loved the festival. “Everybody is going nuts.”
Christina, a solar lamp designer from California, who works in a design firm in Noida, felt the festival was unique because it was not regulated and was celebrated all over the country.
“The fact that the country celebrates it together makes it so special - had it been the US, it would have been celebrated in pockets. Holi is much better than Diwali,” said the tall American with a nosestud, as she sprayed rose-scented water from a sprinkler painted with faces of Bollywood stars - a rage in the capital this Holi.
Elizabeth Winding, a writer for Time Out, London, who is vacationing in India, felt as if she had been transported to Vikram Seth’s novel, “The Suitable Boy”, in which she had read about Holi.
“It is better than reading about it in the book,” said the woman, who is fond of contemporary Indian literature in English.
Emily, who works in the retail sector in India, loves the laid back spirit of the festival. “This is my favourite festival,” said the slim woman, who will be in India for two years.