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Holi – the Festival of Colours

March 25, 2013

Holi, the Festival of Colours, a Celebration of Spring: 27th March 2013



As this most vibrant and fun-filled festival approaches, we are thrilled to have Phillipe Brown, founder of bespoke travel company Brown + Hudson reminisce about India’s most colourful celebration.

Brown + Hudson is a luxury travel company renowned for their bespoke, exquisitely crafted travel experiences tailored to your personal style. Like Ananya, they have a passion for what they do; they create experiences that are completely centred around you, reflecting your interests, taste, concerns and even quirks. Luxury, bespoke and memorable are what both Brown + Hudson and Ananya stand for.

Ananya’s colourful cards embody all the exuberance and joy of this fun festival.

Happy Holi, festival of colours, celebration greeting card

Holi greeting card by Ananya

red and orange Happy Holi greeting card for festival of colours

Holi greeting card by Ananya

Phillipe Brown reminisces….

I first experienced the sheer joy and craziness of Holi about 20 years ago. It was the day I arrived in Udaipur. I remember it vividly. How could I not? My clothes were colourfully ruined and my hair dyed a chic blend of pink and purple. In many ways the magnificent occasion left a rare and beautiful impression of India that will stay with my clothes and I forever.

Holi reminds me of face painting as a kid; and as a big one myself it’s my favourite festival. There isn’t a more vibrant, inner-child releasing celebration than the ‘Festival of Colours’.  I love India’s traditions. Like the country they’re a melting pot of everything colourful from the food, to the dance, to music and awe-inspiring ceremonies. Holi is a 48 hour festival of frolics and sheer uninhibited fun. People of all classes, ages and religions ambush each other with ‘gulal’ and ‘abil’ paint in what must be the world’s messiest party.



I seem to recall a drunken chapatti seller telling me that Holi began as a celebration of the Hindu ‘Holika and Prahlad’ legend – the ultimate tale of good triumphing evil where Lord Vishnu repeatedly saves Holika’s life in reward for her devotion. Bearing in mind his state it sounded fairly convincing. Someone else told me of another legend involving a dark-skinned Young Krishna who became envious of his beloved Radha’s lighter skin so he covered her face with bright powder. Elsewhere I read that he was just a prankster who liked nothing more than splashing coloured water over milkmaids.

Whatever its origins, nowadays it’s all about dancing, singing, gifts, parties and bonfires; basically, anything goes and the phrase ‘Boora na mano, Holi hai,’ (Don’t mind, it’s Holi!) is the motto to live by. You’ll be drenched by purple water balloons, and in turn can return the favour to perfect strangers without fear of consequences – other than being drenched back. To this day whenever my niece’s finger paintings wind up covering her face and hair, my mind wanders to that day in Udaipur 20 years ago.



To see for yourself, check out Xavier Zimbardo’s brilliant video. It’ll whet your appetite (or at least add colour to a grey day).

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