Sunday: Spring-Welcoming Hindu Holiday Festival, Holi, Expected to Leave Hundreds of Pasadenans Covered in Celebratory Rainbows of Color

Published : Wednesday, February 28, 2018 | 6:21 PM

[Editor's Note: Festival organizers said that in the event of rain on Saturday, the event will be held on Sunday, same time, same place.] 

The ancient Hindu religious festival called Holi celebrating the start of Spring in which revelers throw brightly colored powder and spray water at each other is set to unfold in Pasadena this weekend. Hundreds are hoping to get colorfully messy in the carefree spirit of one of India’s most joyous traditions.


Pasadena Hindu Temple organizers are making sure to bring Bollywood-influenced fun, authentic and savory flavors, and — most importantly– the vibrant colored powders to Victory Park on Saturday for the temple’s second Holi Hungama bash open to all to enjoy.

Although the festival is known for its sheer exuberance, it is also a time to forgive and forget, to repair broken relationships, and to celebrate love.

“It’s the celebration of Spring in India [where we] bring all the colors and we just basically go crazy with painting each other,” said Shubhshree Bhargava of the Pasadena Hindu Temple.

“Typically in India, it involves not just the dry colors, but also a lot of water. And the colors are very different,” said Bhargava about the cornstarch-based colors. “I remember growing up, we would have a huge tank full of water with colors dissolved in it and you just pick kids up and dunk them in.”

Bhargava says the 2018 Holi Hungama Bash will be just as messy but hopefully not as wet thanks to the powdered inks that are designed to wash-off easily.

That is not the case in India, according to Bhargava.

“In India, I remember going back to school with a pink face the next day — but we try to bring colors that don’t stain your skin. The clothes I wouldn’t guarantee, but the skin — yes,” Bhargava explained.

In recent years the festival has spread to parts of Europe and North America as a spring celebration the embraces love, carefree joy, and color, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“There are many different traditions associated with it so in different parts of India, it may be played in a different way,” explained Bhargava. “Most festivals in India are celebrations associated with fruits.”

Sweets are a main component of traditional Indian celebrations, such as Holi, and Bhargava says the festival will have enough to satisfy hundreds.

One treat, in particular, is a type of Indian dumpling called Gulab jamun, which is among India’s most popular desserts. It’s often referred to as “Indian doughnuts.” The fried dumplings are traditionally made of milk and soaked in rose-flavored sugar syrup.

Traditional Holi color festivals are not complete without the delicious drink Thandai.

“Thandai is a milk-based drink, which is made with lots of spices. It takes a lot of effort to actually make the drink,” said Bhargava about the recipe that includes soaking and grinding almonds, rose petals, poppy seeds, saffron, fennel, black pepper, and other ingredients.

Other authentic Indian finger-foods such as samosas, a dish Bhargava says is a favorite among locals, will be available in large supply.

The festival will also include energetic Bollywood-style dancing that will definitely not disappoint.

“Pasadena’s a beautiful community. It’s just all people from different parts of the world and they like to be a part of every culture, that’s the beauty of this city,” said Bhargava. “I know that people would really enjoy being a part of this because it has nothing to do with religion or where you come from, it’s just a fun event for everyone.”

The Pasadena Hindu Temple and Heritage Foundation presents Holi Hungama 2018 color festival Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Victory Park located at 2575 Paloma Street.

The event is free and open to the public.

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