Colourful Calcutta – Celebrating Holi

On my recent, and first ever, trip to India I had the amazing opportunity to celebrate Holi – Festival of Colours in Calcutta. Attending Holi Festival is something that has always been a dream of mine and was most definitely a top priority item on my never-ending bucket list!! If you are looking for other places to celebrate, check out Mel’s post about celebrating Holi in Mumbai.

I guess when I dreamed up my idea of celebrating Holi, it would be on the streets of some big Indian city, surrounded my 1,000’s of strangers, who would all be throwing colour up in the air, shouting and singing and celebrating. My actual experience was quite different. As we were visiting The Hope Foundation’s projects, we were told we would be celebrating Holi in one of HOPE’s protection homes for young girls who have been rescued from the streets. This made the day SO much more special than being in the street with strangers. The girls were so sweet, and as we had spent a few hours playing and dancing with them a few days earlier, the ice had been broken and we were already the best of friends!

At first Pushba, the house-mother in charge of all the girls and their carers, warned them to treat us foreigners ‘delicately’ and not to cover us too much in the dye. We immediately protested this and said “Do what you want! Let them destroy us if they wish…This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for all of us.” When the house-mother translated this to the kids, that they would have a free rein on the dye, they all cheered loudly, their eyes sparkling with excitement.

We were all brought outside the main entrance to the home, music was turned on, trays of coloured dye were distributed, and soon the colourful madness and cries of “HAPPY HOLI” were to be heard up and down the street. All the kids were given water pistols, big buckets of water and ample supply of multi coloured dye, which they proceeded to cover us in, much to our delight and the delight of many onlookers!!

I hope these photos I took do the day justice and really convey the happiness exuded my all; the joy, the delight, the smiles, the laughter and the amazing friendships bound together by this great Hindu Festival of Colour, welcoming Spring and bidding farewell to Summer!

Colour me beautiful!

Colour me beautiful!

Paint, coming at you!!

Paint, coming at you!!

Happy, smiling faces

Happy, smiling faces

A smile that would melt your heart

A smile that would melt your heart

Happy Holi!

Happy Holi!

Volunteer Niamh enjoying Holi

Volunteer Niamh enjoying Holi

All smiles!

All smiles!

Another volunteer enjoying the Holi celebrations!

Another volunteer enjoying the Holi celebrations!

Kasba Girls enjoying Holi

Kasba Girls enjoying Holi

Me and some of the girls from Kasba enjoying Holi celebrations!

Me and some of the girls from Kasba enjoying Holi celebrations!

Nobody escaped - even the poor bus drivers turned green!!

Nobody escaped – even the poor bus drivers turned green!!

Hands in - the aftermath of the red dye!

Hands in – the aftermath of the red dye!

A beautiful smile, a beautiful day!

A beautiful smile, a beautiful day!

Action shot!

Action shot!

Group shot!

Group shot!

  • Betty Londergan
    April 1, 2013 at 7:26 pm

    Wowsa — that’s some BIG COLOR!!!

  • Betty Londergan
    April 1, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    p.s. So difficult to believe those sweet young girls were rescued from the streets — what wonderful work Hope Foundation is doing!! and GOOD for you for being part of it!!

  • livvy30
    April 1, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    Looks great fun! A friend of mine worked for Hope for years.

  • silkpurseproductions
    April 1, 2013 at 11:04 pm

    The look of sheer joy on their faces is priceless! You were so fortunate to be able to participate in all the fun. This seems like a wonderful way to welcome spring and say farewell to winter. We should do this everywhere.

  • larkycanuck
    April 2, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    Nice. Stay safe.

  • Clive Jennings
    June 3, 2013 at 9:40 am

    Excellent

  • Looking Back, Looking Forward | Journalist on the run
    January 14, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    […] HOPE projects in Kolkata, India and achieving one of my life goals to participate in Holi Festival of Colours with the kids from HOPE’s children’s […]

  • Ami (Yearful of Sundays)
    April 27, 2015 at 5:04 pm

    What an incredibly beautiful Holi! Lovely pictures, and I see some very happy (and, of course, colourful!) faces there. :)

  • Fashion Matters
    November 17, 2015 at 10:29 pm

    this is adorable!

    The Fashion Matters- Fashion & Travel Magazine

  • Vyjay Rao
    July 2, 2016 at 12:31 pm

    Holi brings colour and joy all around, nice to see you bond with the sweet kids in Kolkata.