Holi festival parties in London

Paint the town red – and blue, green, yellow and purple – at events inspired by the Hindu festival of colours

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If you start seeing rainbow-coloured soot billowing the capital – nobody’s burning a big pile of My Little Ponys, don't worry. It’ll just be hundreds of people chucking powdered paint at each other.

The roots of this increasingly popular Technicolor pastime lie in the Hindu festival of Holi – an annual celebration held on the first day of spring (on Monday March 17 in 2014). People of all ages and castes take to the streets to throw coloured water and a powdery paint known as gulal. Though these London events are often removed from the religious aspects of Holi, the same air of convivial fun and abandon are at their heart. Gulal is non-toxic, water-soluble and available to buy in bags at each event. Wearing white is recommended for the best visual effect, but avoid anything too precious – clothes can still get a little stained (the same goes for cameras and smartphones too).

Playful gatherings like this are becoming increasingly popular in Britain. Cheeky flashmobs like Kaboom have been organising them for those in the know, restaurateurs Dishoom hold a Holi shindig every year, while music festivals like Secret Garden Party regularly explode into dazzlingly pigmented clouds.

Holi One

Abandoning Battersea Power Station (site of several multi-hued frolics last year) for a new venue in 2014 is Holi One (similar set up to Festival of Colours, different organisers), which is moving to Wembley Park for this year’s festival. Pink Bikini, Juicy Orange and Violet Secret will all be there. Not dodgy cocktails or strippers with fancy stage names but the human and environment-friendly paints you’ll be using to smother your mates. Expect an intensely colourful day of music, dance, performance art and getting gloriously messy.


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