Activities in Barcelona: the Holi Festival of Colours

The Joy of Holi
Photo credit: Marta Millan Alari

Traditionally the Hindu festival of Holi celebrates the end of winter, and beginning of spring. In Barcelona there are 2 versions of the festival, one large scale event where you pay an entry fee to watch DJs in September, and this, the original, free event that actually does take place in spring- this year on 12th April.

Organized by Bollywood Sitare & Sangam, the Cultural Association of South Asia, this Holi is in my opinion far better than the other; it is more authentic, and free to attend so is already streets ahead of the other. During Holi, everyone is covered with coloured paints & powders so all boundaries of race, creed, sex and status are forgotten as everyone looks the same. I love that this event is free as it further emphasizes the equality of everyone, it really is open to all.

I attended this Holi in 2013 and loved every minute. It was a beautiful day, very hot and sunny – and my friend and I made our way up to Carmel where the festival was held. There was traditional music and performances from Bollywood dancers, food trucks and a great family atmosphere. And then came the moment for the announcement – we were ready to throw our coloured powder! We had arrived too late to buy the powder, the supplies had run out, but that didn’t matter as we were in the middle of the crowd and so still got gloriously covered in yellow, blue, red & green from head to toe!

My friend & I after HoliThe festival has moved to another location close by, presumably to a larger space as it grows in popularity. All are welcome, including children so bring them along too to join in the fun – just make sure you keep a tight hold of their hand as it does get busy.

The website offers advice on how to prepare so check out to make sure you’re ready.

Remember to wear (old) white clothes so the coloured powders can be seen better; protect your eyes with sunglasses, and use moisturising cream or oil before & after to help remove the powder more easily once the festival is over & you have to get ready for work on Monday. Cleaning is easier said than done, it took me a few days to get the blue hue out of my skin!

A great way to spend an afternoon, although if you’re just here for the weekend don’t make fancy dinner reservations for Sunday night, they may not appreciate your green hair!

Sunday April 12th
11am – 5.30pm
Av. del Cardenal Vidal i Barraquer, 08035 Barcelona
Metro: Horta (L5Blue Line) // Montbau (L3Green Line)
Bus: V21

Here’s a video from the Holi Festival in 2013 to give you an idea of what to expect

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