Saturday, August 18, 2012

Free Prism Riot!

The Hindu tradition of Holi is a celebration of color to commemorate the new season. People meet in the streets dressed in all white, putting aside social norms, celebrating and dancing as coloured powders fill the air. Attending a Holi celebration in India has long been one of those "bucket list" items for me, and one that I've resigned to never accomplishing, at least in this lifetime.

Prism Riot is the name of an event held earlier tonight at The Goat Farm to recreate the spirit of Holi.  The event was put on by an organization called Saiah Arts International, whose stated mission is to exchange ideas and knowledge creatively, impartially and without barriers.

The courtyards of The Goat Farm were festooned with festive fabrics, and most people wore white.  The cost of admission included a bag of colored powder, but you could buy more bags of powder, and squirt bottles and water balloons full of colored water, from Saiah vendors.  They did a brisk business.  The music was a recorded Subcontinent dance mix, augmented by a live percussionist on a traditional Indian drum.

The colors didn't actually start flying until 8:30 pm, but some people got hit early (white's a tempting color when you're holding a squirt bottle of colored water).

8:29 pm: Countdown at T-minus ten seconds and counting . . . 

And GO!

Dancing and splashing random people with colored powder and water ensued for the next hour or so.  Everyone's pristine white clothing quickly took on multicolored, psychedelic patterns.

I think it's safe to say that everybody had a great time.  For all the fun, it still wasn't the same as celebrating Holi in Agra or Kashmir and doesn't qualify for crossing the festival off my bucket list, but it wasn't a bad way at all to celebrate a Saturday evening in Atlanta.  

Back home, I was able to wash the colors out of my white pants, but the white shirt will now forever be reserved for Phish reunions and Deadhead gatherings only.

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