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Ask me a week ago, and I wouldn’t be certain exactly what a holi color festival was. The word is less familiar to me than the idea of a celebration where whirls of color are tossed at participants.

Holi colors from the rear

Something to do with India, I’d have guessed . . . a week ago. Something related to celebration. Maybe spring. Maybe love.

Phoebe painted with holi colors

At the unlikely location of a bar across from the famous Fenway Park baseball stadium, I discovered a few more of the (American-edition) specifics: Top 40 pop hits, teenagers representing many different racial and ethnic backgrounds, vendors selling spicy samosa, revelers splattered with vibrant orange, yellow, green, blue, red, purple.

David with colors

David with colors 2

The actual activity of “color application” was another mystery, until it was our turn to go through a door into the bright unknown, which turned out to be a dark garage pumping with club beats, littered with empty bags and a dilapidated golf cart. Backdrop to perhaps 100 people, young and not-so-young, vying for bags of sand (“paid” for with raffle tickets that came with the entrance fee, though some people curiously had more than one ticket), chasing and smearing complete strangers with color.

holi dance party

Action shot of grimy, color-filled garage

So what have I learned about the holi festival? Well, it makes for fantastic photos. Also, there’s something to be said for not doing the research, for just diving in and trying something new without the shield of protective knowledge. Sometimes. :^)

Holi color eyelashes close-up

Holi color eyelashes close-up

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