Sunday, April 18, 2010

Adventures in Multicultural Living: Holi, Hetalia, Songkran, and Festifools - playing in the spring sunshine - AnnArbor.com

I was walking down Liberty Street with about thirty singing and laughing and high-spirited high school girls dressed up as World War II Axis and Allied Powers (long story, do not worry, just Hetalia cosplay) when coming towards us from the other direction was a group of happy and tired-looking university students covered head to toe in colors. Deep purple smudged on one cheek, blue and red smudged on the other, hair dusty pink and green, white T-shirts never to be white again.

Oh! Holi! I knew it was coming, but I had not yet gotten around to checking an Indian calendar and so I missed it (again) this year. Oh, the disappointment.

Holi is a boisterous Hindu and Sikh festival celebrating the beginning of spring by throwing brightly colored tikka powders at others. Songkran or the Thai water-throwing festival is a similar Thai festival offering revelry and relief from the heat in Thailand’s hottest month, April. Both mark the new year in April (different calendars), and both offer a chance to play outdoors in lightness and in fun.

I dreaded both these festivals when I first encountered them in Nepal and Thailand years ago. Maybe I was too serious then. Maybe I felt more vulnerable as an outsider. Maybe I was a bad sport.

Now I think we all could use more opportunities to play. (click on link for more)

Holi, Hetalia, Songkran, and Festifools - playing in the spring sunshine - AnnArbor.com

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