You know Holi is coming when streets are full of vendors selling colours and pichkaris, when people have glasses of thandai in their hands, and when you hear ‘balam pichkari’ on loud speakers. This festive season, we bring to you a list of the quirkiest Holi- like festivals celebrated across the world.
HARO WINE FESTIVAL, SPAIN
Haro Wine Festival is a festival celebrated in the town of Haro of northern Spain. The day begins at 7:00 am, with a procession of people old and young, dressed in white shirts and red scarves, all carrying jugs, bottles, botas and other types of containers filled with red wine. After the mass, a true free-for-all begins, with everyone tossing wine on each other until all are soaked from head to foot. There is a sea of wet, pink shirts everywhere. Then at noon everyone returns to town to watch bullfights in the town’s bullring.
BATTLE OF ORANGES, ITALY
The Battle of the Oranges is a festival in the Northern Italian city of Ivrea, which includes a tradition of throwing of oranges between organized groups. It is the largest food fight in Italy. The core celebration is based on a locally famous Battle of the Oranges that involves some thousands of town people, divided into nine combat teams, who throw oranges at each other – with considerable violence – during the traditional carnival days.
LA RAIMA, SPAIN
La Raima happens on the last Friday of August in the Spanish town of Pobla del Duc. At midday 4 lorries dump around 40 tonnes of local Spanish grapes and the free-for-all food fight begins. It basically lasts until every last grape has been thrown and every participant is covered in a sticky, sweet purple mess.
CANDY THROWING FIGHT, VILANOVA, SPAIN
La Merengada, also known as the Candy Fight, is a celebration that simply has to be every kid’s dream. On a Saturday, everyone gathers to catch sweets from the sky. Around 200,000lbs of candy is launched into the crowd, creating a sticky, crunchy and colourful quilt of sugar on the streets.
What is it with Spaniards and throwing fruit? Has no one told them you shouldn’t play with your food?
CLEAN MONDAY FLOUR WAR, GREECE
March 10th is the day of the annual flour war in Greece. For the past 200 years residents and tourists have bombarded each other with bags of coloured flour. It’s an incredibly cool sight, all those dusty ghost-like figures moving about in the clouds. In a strange way, it looks attractively apocalyptic…
An estimated 3000lbs of flour is used, so that should give you a clue as to the mess it causes.
La Tomatina is a food fight festival held on the last Wednesday of August each year in the town of Bunol near to Valencia in Spain. Thousands upon thousands of people make their way from all corners of the world to fight in this ‘World’s Biggest Food Fight’ where more than one hundred metric tons of over-ripe tomatoes are thrown in the streets.
And here in India, today is the time to celebrate the spirit of coming together. To celebrate the festival of colours. To celebrate Holi.
Umang wishes everyone a Happy Holi!