Saturday, 26 March 2016

Holi Festival in Esplanade 2016

Those who don't think Indian festivals - or Indian culture in general - is colourful, quite literally, haven't attended a Holi Festival. This was my 1st time I had the privilege in witnessing this festival.

Holi Festival, aka Festival of Colours, or Festival of Sharing Love. It signifies the victory of good over evil, thus a metaphor for the end of Winter and the beginning of Spring. To our distant ancestors, cold brings death, and Spring brings life (it's still true today, just not so widespread as in the ancient times).

For those who are more familiar with the Water-Festival that takes place in Indochinese countries (except for Vietnam), this lesser known Indian festival also involves splashing coloured water as well as throwing dry coloured powder at each other (I suspect the Water Festival came from India as these countries are heavily influenced by Indian culture, except for Vietnam, which strengthen my suspicion). These days, at least in Singapore, only dry powders are used in throwing, smearing each other (Maybe it's just me, the powder tasted sweet when my mouth caught a whiff of it). These days, water is becoming harder to come by.

Powder Stand, Holi Festival, Esplanade, Singapore
The dry powder are came in convenient packages

Dance Party, Holi Festival, Esplanade, Singapore

Dance Party, Holi Festival, Esplanade, Singapore

Dance Party, Holi Festival, Esplanade, Singapore


Not surprisingly, Holi is celebrated in Singapore. While it's also celebrated in commercial venue like Wavehouse in Sentosa (and quite popular), the one I went to is the free, outdoor and official version that takes place in Esplanade next to Theatres by the Bay (aka the Durians).

Both Easter and Holi are varied from year to year, but usual quite close together. This year, they both fall on the same weekend (this also explains the distinct absence of Pinoys as they're gathered in Churches). The coincidence of days isn't really so coincidental, after all, both Easter and Holi is rooted in the pagan celebration of the Spring season.

By pagan tradition, I mean the spiritual tradition of our distant ancestors that preceded organised religions like Hindu or Christianity. These pagan traditions are based on the worship of nature such as the seasons, the Sun (e.g. ancient Egyptian), Moon (e.g. Chinese), trees, mountains, etc.

Such things as the Easter egg (the rebirth of Spring), bunny (fertility of Spring), and even the name 'Easter' has pagan origin, and celebrated thousands of years by pagans before Christ. Easter symbols have a - fairly obvious - meaning of renewal, rebirth, and fertility that comes with Spring with their flowering and the waking-up of life. Hence, it's logically assimilated Easter's pagan symbols into Christianity to represent the resurrection of Christ.

As for Holi, the riot of colours is - fairly obvious - a simile for the frenzy melee of Spring flower blooms. I'm not a botanist, but chances are, the dye powders of various colours are probably come from the flowers themselves. Like the story of good triumphs over evil, or arrival of Spring after Winter, or the appearance of rainbow after a downpour, in Holi, the idea of renewal could be seen in the encouragement in the moral acts of forgetting and forgiving that associates with this festival.

Holi isn't being incorporated into or adopted by any religion, and so it remains a pagan festival that could be celebrated by people of all faiths.

The celebration is accompanied by live music and dance performance. I recommend you wear a white shirt (and come home with a rainbow one, compliment of Holi Festival).

Dance Party, Holi Festival, Esplanade, Singapore


Dance Party, Holi Festival, Esplanade, Singapore

Dance Party, Holi Festival, Esplanade, Singapore







Dance Party, Holi Festival, Esplanade, Singapore


Dance Party, Holi Festival, Esplanade, Singapore


Dance Party, Holi Festival, Esplanade, Singapore Dance Party, Holi Festival, Esplanade, Singapore
Dance Party, Holi Festival, Esplanade, Singapore Dance Party, Holi Festival, Esplanade, Singapore
Dance Party, Holi Festival, Esplanade, Singapore Dance Party, Holi Festival, Esplanade, Singapore
Dance Party, Holi Festival, Esplanade, Singapore Dance Party, Holi Festival, Esplanade, Singapore
Dance Party, Holi Festival, Esplanade, Singapore Dance Party, Holi Festival, Esplanade, Singapore


This outdoor activity is great for the family and those who want to enjoy dance party, let their hair down, and turn your friends and/or family members into colourful works of arts. For those who enjoy the more subdued programs, there were a few musical performances in 2 venues: one is located at the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre, and the other in the Esplanade Concourse where you can enjoy Nepalese folk dances performed by Maharastra Mandal & Nepalese Society (Singapore).


Dance Party, Holi Festival, Esplanade, Singapore Dance Party, Holi Festival, Esplanade, Singapore

Dance Party, Holi Festival, Esplanade, Singapore Dance Party, Holi Festival, Esplanade, Singapore




As usual, everything is free.

Happy Holi !



1 comment:

  1. Nice to read your article! I am looking forward to sharing your adventures and experiences.
    the 75 esplanade condos

    ReplyDelete