Donald E. Sanchez

Festival of Colors

The traditional Indian holiday “Holi,” or the Festival of Colors is the celebration of “the arrival of spring and the passing of winter. The festival breathes an atmosphere of social merriment. People bury their hatchets with a warm embrace and throw their worries to the wind. Every nook and corner presents a colorful sight. Young and old alike are covered with colors (red, green, yellow, blue, black and silver). People in small groups are seen singing, dancing and throwing colors on each other (http://www.festivalofcolorsusa.com/festival-of-colors/ancient-tradition/)."

It is said the celebration grew out of several legends, one of which tells the story of a demoness named Holika (from where the word Holi is derived) who was destroyed in a fire, from which she was supposed to be immune. Her brother, a demon king named Hirnya Kashipu, was enraged that his son Prahlad was devoted to the god Vishnu. Holika was tasked with Prahlad’s destruction and carried the small boy into the fire. Divine intervention saved the boy and instead destroyed Holika. Holi commemorates the destruction of the evil Holika and the triumph of good.

Good and evil are moral categories for which every worldview has to give an account. Whether the worldview is theism, pantheism, or even atheism, there is the belief that good and evil exists in the world and it has been a struggle to overcome since the dawn of time. The Hindu community in Charlotte celebrates one instance in their faith tradition when good prevails over evil in the Festival of Colors. This festival was an event I looked forward to photographing. I shot with a digital Fuji X100, set on Fuji's Velvia film simulation because of its vivid and saturated colors appropriate for this occassion. My camera was protected by a DiCaPac® (Digital Camera Pack) waterproof plastic case to protect it from the holi. Pulsating music, group dances, and vibrant colored powder spread everywhere, covering joyous revelers head to toe.