It was lot of fun at the Holi Celebrations. I did not expect such a crowd, it took more than an hour just to get the parking and get to the premises.
Apart from the music, dance, Holika Dahan (burning of Holika), food & fun – the colors and the celebration definitely make this a photographer heaven. This was one of my first try, shooting an event. The experience was very different from shooting landscapes. Interacting with people, getting to know about them was not as intimidating as I had thought :)
Lot of folks were so open to being photographed and even asked where they can get the shots. If you were one of them feel free to get yours here.
These shots are from 2013 Holi Celebrations at Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago. These were taken at a public gathering with a good will and understanding. All Photos are copyrighted. NOT FOR COMMERCIAL USE. Drop me an email if you would like the original shots for personal use.
Significance of the Celebrations
There are lot of different reasons behind this festival of colors. Though this started off in India, am seeing this cultural celebrations catching up in the major western cities too.
Foremost is the legend of Prahlad and Hiranyakshyap. The legend says there once lived a devil and powerful king, Hiranyakshyap who considered himself a god and wanted everybody to worship him. To his great ire, his son, Prahlad began to worship, Lord Vishnu. To get rid of his son, Hiranyakshyap asked his sister, Holika to enter a blazing fire with Prahlad in her lap, as she had a boon to enter fire unscathed. Legend has it that Prahlad was saved for his extreme devotion for the lord while Holika paid a price for her sinister desire. The tradition of burning Holika or the ‘Holika dahan’ comes mainly from this legend.
Holi also celebrates the legend of Radha and Krishna which describes the extreme delight, Krishna took in applying color on Radha and other gopis. This prank of Krishna later, became a trend and a part of the Holi festivities.
As with any of the religious traditions, there is always a deep meaning behind these. Holi comes when the season moves from cold (winter) to warm (Spring) . The entire event involves movements that are brisk and music as loud. All of this helps to rejuvenate the human body and makes the transition smooth. People also clean-up their houses on Holi, burning up the old, which helps in clearing up the dust and mess in the house. This is kind of equivalent to the spring cleaning that is prevalent in western culture. A cleaner environment generate more positive energy.
Few Moments from the Celebration
Below are some of my favorite shots from the event. For more check out the gallery.