Holi in NYC: The most fun you're liable to have this weekend

Paint the town red, yellow, purple, blue and white at Holi events like the Phagwah Parade, Holi Hai, Festival of Colors and Rang Barse cruise this weekend.

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  • Photograph: Eric Harvey Brown

    Phagwah Parade

  • Photograph: Sam Horine

    Phagwah Parade

     

  • Phagwah Parade

     

     

  • Photograph: Eric Harvey Brown

    Phagwah Parade

  • Rang Barse Cruise

  • Rang Barse Cruise

  • Rang Barse Cruise

  • Rang Barse Cruise

  • Rang Barse Cruise

  • NYC Bhangra's annual Holi Hai

  • NYC Bhangra's annual Holi Hai

  • Photograph: Hideki Aono

    NYC Bhangra's annual Holi Hai

  • NYC Bhangra's annual Holi Hai

Photograph: Eric Harvey Brown

Phagwah Parade


The riot of color that accompanies the Hindu spring festival of Holi hits New York this weekend. The exuberant festivities (we're celebrating the triumph of good over evil, here) include traditional South Asian music, dancing and playing with powdered dyes—symbolizing the return of color in spring after the drudgery of winter (and what a dreary winter it was). Think of it like J'ouvert (daybreak)—the celebration that begins the West Indian–American Day Parade on Labor Day—but at a more civilized hour.

RECOMMENDED: Spring in New York guide

Events this year span the family-friendly (at Solar One on Friday and Holi Hai on Sunday) where you can play with colors without having to worry about being clobbered in the face by an overexuberant youth, to the free-for-alls at the gratis Phagwah Parade in Queens and the Festival of Colors party in Brooklyn.

Holi events in NYC 2013

Holi at Solar One

  • Free

This solar-powered, ecologically minded center on the East River holds a free, family-friendly paint-throwing party to mark the the Hindu spring festival of Holi. If you're heading to the fete after work, make sure you ditch the suit; the colors may (as in, probably will) stain clothes, but at least you can be confident the powder's not toxic—Solar One made their own from rice flour and food coloring.

  1. Solar One 24-20 FDR Dr, between 22nd and 23rd Sts
  2. Fri Mar 29
More info

Rang Barse Cruise

  • Price band: 3/4

Join this 500-person boat party on the Hudson River. Your ticket gets you a buffet of Indian food and soft drinks, but you'll have to shell out for booze from the cash bar. DJ Ashu Rai spins, and blue, pink, red, orange, yellow and green powders will be laid out on the top deck for your throwing pleasure. Visit ingroupevents.com for more information and to buy tickets.

  1. Pier 40 W Houston St, at the Hudson River
  2. Sat Mar 30
More info

Holi Hai

  • Free

This fourth annual family-friendly event by the dance group NYC Bhangra gives you a chance to paint your friends without getting involved in the crazed free-for-all of the Phagwah Parade in Queens. Along with free colors, there are performances of traditional Indian dance and music, plus the chance to learn a few bhangra moves during interactive sessions.

  1. Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza 47th St, between First and Second Aves
  2. Until Sun Mar 31
More info

Festival of Colors: Holi NYC

  • Critics choice

This Brooklyn-based celebration of the Hindu spring festival of Holi drew more than 1,200 people last year, so prepare for an almighty mess as you color-bomb your pals with brightly hued gulal powder and dance into the evening to DJs and live bands. Tickets have sold out, but go to festivalofcolors.org to put your name on a waiting list.

  1. Location TBA
  2. Until Sat Apr 6
More info


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