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Holi is the ‘festival of colours’, which has a few mythological stories that speak of its origins, but is mostly celebrated as a day where good triumphs over evil, as well as the end of winter and the beginning of the harvest season.
The day is mostly spent on the streets or squares of one’s own neighbourhood, throwing coloured powder or squirting tinted water at friends, family and even strangers, and people often wear white for the most dramatic effect. It’s a fun day out with lots of street food – also known as ‘chaat’ – easy snacks and cool drinks to fuel you through the day.
Growing up, it was one of the festivals I experienced more in third party than in first person, as it falls in term time. The Indian community would host an event to celebrate it, but it was always indoors and tame compared to the vibrant Holis I would see in Bollywood movies. In fact, my first ‘real’ Holi experience was on the set of such a movie. It was truly magical with Bollywood stars, music and dancers amid the floating colours!
These days in England, we often spend the day in friends’ gardens, with mists of colours floating in the air, lots of water-pistol action and squeals from the children. While the setting is different, the food is still street food – albeit warming, hot and easy-to-put-together dishes, and mugs of steaming masala tea to keep us warm. It is a different kind of Holi but still magical, colourful and festive.
Don't miss Anjum's delicious recipes inspired by Holi: