One of the most visually stunning festivals of the year wrapped up on Monday, and the event was gorgeous as usual. The Holi Festival or Festival of Colors is a Hindu festival that celebrates love and the triumph of good over evil. In India and Nepal, the holiday encompasses two days of events — most recognizable being the full day spent throwing bright, colorful powdered pigment at people in the streets. The joyous festival is a marker for the arrival of spring, and the fun is infectious.
These days, there are incarnations of Holi held around the world — though it would be impossible to match the pure scale of the celebration in India, where millions join in.
It’s a wild mess of a day — now featuring all sorts of new color-soaking methods from buckets to super soakers.
Unfortunately, we have to acknowledge that the festival has bred some troubling patterns that need to be addressed. There are concerns of sexual assault that spring up around the celebration — with men using the big crowds and playful nature of the holiday as an excuse to grope and harass women. The answer for a number of women’s dorms in India this year was to simply lock the women in and keep them from going out on the streets to enjoy/participate in the festival. It’s a troubling fix, one that perpetuates a “boys will be boys” attitude.
We should all strive to live in a world where the responsibility and onus for treating people with respect is shared. Until we do, women will be continued to be blamed and marginalized for simply existing.
It’s a topic that needs mentioning (even in a photo roundup), because Holi should be a time to be happy — with everyone enjoying the festival without worry.