Holi One Festival is a beautiful chaos of colour and kindness

Cape Town’s own version of the international Holi One Colour Festival turns the Grand Parade in front of City Hall into a Jackson Pollock artwork of sorts every March, as thousands of party-goers all dressed in white dance into the night while pelting each other with coloured powder.

Though the organisers stress that the Holi One Colour Festival (also known as the We Are One Colour Festival) is not a religious festival and is not associated with the original Indian Holi festival, this Hindu celebration did serve as inspiration. Author and journalist Johannes de Villiers tells how he found some spiritual essence in the festival he loves more than any other.

“The spiritual element of Holi One, and the way you experience it, all depends on how you define ‘spiritual’. Holi started as a (Hindu) religious festival, but very few of the people who attend Holi events in Western cities are Hindus. But my experience is that the Holi One Colour Festival events are marked by an atmosphere of peace, intense joy, huge kindness and solidarity among the revellers. I would consider that as spiritual as anything.

There seems to be a growing demand for less toxic events of this sort: sober raves, yoga trance parties and the Holi One festivals are places where people can be joyful together without all the negative karma you pick up in many other party spots. Holi One is an exuberantly happy party, but you are still smiling the morning after as well. That’s why people return every year to take part in this festival.

For optimal enjoyment of the festival, it’s important to have nice people as your festival partners. If you thrive on negative drama, Holi won’t work for you. But if you are part of the world-wide love revolution, the kind of person that doesn’t mind wearing a flower in your hair, then Holi is the place to be.”

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