Holi Festival London: let there be colour!

justine.kiblerEvents176 Comments

holi festival london

There’s always something crazy happening in London. Last weekend, in the concrete sea of Battersea Park, thousands of people clad in white gathered to turn themselves into rainbows.

Holi Colour Festival Panorama

Holi Colour festival 2013 London-16

The event was inspired by the religious festival Holi, where Hindus gather together in February/March to celebrate the coming of spring and throw masses of coloured powder at each other. The festival at Battersea exported the idea of coloured powder, cast aside the relgious motivations, then added alcohol, a stage and DJs for good measure. The result? A great big messy party!

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Thousands of clean-clothed people gathered to Battersea to attend the festival.

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It didn’t take long for the powder to be unleashed!

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Every hour festival goers  were encouraged to throw their powder en-mass. As they did, clouds of colour blocked out the sunlight, and participants were caked from head to toe in layers of powder.

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Rainbowed people emerged from the aftermath.

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And as the dust settled, the party continued…

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When the day drew to a close the underground became populated with a colourful array of people!

Holi Colour festival 2013 London-30

176 Comments on “Holi Festival London: let there be colour!”

    1. Thank you! I wrapped it in a clear bag, cut some holes to put the lens and camera straps through, then taped them back up again around the camera.. It worked pretty well! Still had a few leaks though 🙂

  1. Pingback: Let there be colour! | tcopelandfilm

  2. Very colorful. Okay that is trite. But mix youth, happiness and just plain being thrilled being alive together and you get the beautiful pictures you took. For a moment of happiness and no cares it is worth the color mixtures. Looks like a great time.

  3. oh seems fun and being an Indian, seeing this is heartening. your pictures are fantastic,,,makes me yearn for ‘holi’..
    congratulations on being freshly pressed.

  4. Cool. Nice pics. I did something somewhat similar this past weekend, participating on a color me rad 5k race with my kids. We were thrown the color powder or some color water as we raced… the kids loved it!

  5. The ‘Life’ is full of different colors, that is why we enjoy it. We make our choices to fill it with as many colors as we like. Even if we don’t decide, every color is a real joy and beautiful too. Without any color, it is plain and simple and may be dull.

    1. Thank you so much! I used my Canon 5D mark 3 with a 24-70L lens. I was pretty scared of bringing it too! But then I wrapped and taped it up in a clear bag and cut a hole to put the front of the lens through (which I then tapped back up to the lens), so although it looked pretty silly it worked rather well! Though I still am finding powder in the recesses even now… 🙂

  6. Loved the photos, and it is good to see other people embracing what is one the most festive occasions over here. One point though, while the festival of Holi is certainly hindu by origin, in India we celebrate it entirely as a social festival, having cast those religious motivations around this occasion away long ago. Oh and its not just dry powder that we throw at each other, people drench each other in buckets full of color as well. Once again, great shots! Thank you for them.

  7. Great job…love the pictures! We did this at my uni a couple of months ago! Had a wicked time and theres something quite wonderful about having usually drab, grey buildings covered in masses of bright colours.

  8. We did this during our college’s acquaintance party and it turned out to be the funnest parties our college ever had! 🙂 #CAFAcolorfest

  9. I love this – your pictures are beautiful! In the US there are a lot of Color Runs, where you run a 5k and people throw different colors on you as you go. I much prefer an idea of enjoying some alcohol and a DJ while the colors are thrown- no running required.

  10. I wish I could be there! I absolutely love these shots, especially how you capture the powder in mid air, people’s expressions, emotions, colors,..pretty much everything 🙂 Everyone looks so happy and the event looks like it was a blast.

  11. This looks awesome!! I’m running the ColorRun this weekend which puts this festival and a marathon together. Your post has gotten me super excited for the weekend!

  12. Beautiful shots! (My daughter ran a 5K race were colored powders were thrown. I quickly retreated from using my point-and-click with zoom, knowing I’d regret it.).
    Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!

  13. Beautiful photographs of beautiful people having a beautiful time. So cool – I love the spontaneity of it – the unpredictability of what color ends up where on who. Thanks for sharing!!

  14. These photos are stunningly beautiful! We are having the Color Run event this weekend in Singapore… Pretty excited!

  15. Lovely Pics, its really fun to see Holi in India, specially in some places like Mathura and Avadh in Uttar Pradesh, where colors mixed with traditions really enthralls you.

  16. i am from india, and holi is fun. amazing shots. I have always wanted to take pictures during holi but i could somehow never bring myself to risk exposing my camera to all that. How did you do it? and more importantly, did your camera lens survive this? Please do let me know so i can try it out too in March 🙂

    1. Thank you! As far as I can see my camera and lens did survive… I just wrapped it in a clear bag, cut a hole in the front to put the lens through (which had a filter on – very important!), then taped the hole back up around the lens/filter. The lens was spotless! It leaked onto my camera a little but nothing major… Another idea might be to buy underwater casing of some sort, but it will certainly affect the image quality. Hope this helps!

  17. Wow, these are some amazing and inspiring images. I woke up on the wrong side of the kitchen this morning (I mean, I did stumble out of bed, and I was just fine at that point, but then I ran in to some teenager shenanigans and BAM! my day just went to hell in a bucket!) Your post was just what I needed to get my day back on track!

  18. Great photos! When I visited India and was very disappointed to miss Holi – I didn’t know it was celebrated in the UK as well.

    1. Thank you 🙂 It was definitely a blast! Apparently it will be an annual even in London (and other places across the UK and world) , so make sure you come next time! 🙂

  19. Being from India, I know and understand the fun during Holi very well. Photographs have come up really well, colors and people look full of life 🙂

  20. Awesome photos! Tell you the truth, your version of Holi is what I would prefer to celebrate compared to what we do in India. Holi is supposed to be a festival of colors and that is exactly what I see in these pictures, the colors are beautifully accentuated in each image.

    I don’t know what we do in India anymore, it kind of gets rough, you know, some idiots throwing eggs and rotten tomatoes… It gets disgusting and is not even related to colors!! LOL

    Anyways, love the images! 🙂

    1. That’s very interesting… It would seem that we glamourise the Indian way of doing things a little. Does it perhaps depend on what region you are in to what people do?

      1. Very much so… and not just regions, also on what kind of event…

        When it is just me and my family it is a small celebration with the morning pooja, and applying just a dab of color on each others, cheeks…

        Or in a neighborhood, when multiple families join together and celebrate involving a bit more of getting drenched, I know my dad turns into a kid and dumps buckets of colored water on unsuspecting victims…

        Or the modern version, where clubbers head to an open air rave in the morning, with DJ’s blaring dance music and colors flying everywhere, and people soaking wet, so horribly discolored, you cannot tell them apart… 🙂

        Overall the outcome of it all (except for the first scenario (just my family)) is that people get a strange baboon-like appearance with red ears, red faces, red arms…

        When I was a kid, my mum used to rub a ton of oil all over my body on Holi morning in order to prevent the color from sticking 🙂

        One other thing I remember doing is cutting out the bottom of a large plastic carry bag (the ones you get in the grocery stores), and wearing them as vests under our shirts.. LOL 😛

        I guess you had to go bat shit crazy to have some holi fun… 😛

  21. Pingback: Let there be colour! | SID's Blog

  22. These are amazing photos of what looks like an awesomely fun day!
    I once witnessed the after-math of a colour-festival party (in South Africa) and can honestly say that I would love to attend one… one day.

  23. Pingback: Let there be colour! | drewbeiro

  24. indian community is huge in england. but i didn’t know they celebrate it too in london. wow, kinda a mess colourful party out there and would love to witness it one day when i come to london again!

  25. Here in Sacramento, California we did the “ColorRun” on August 3rd. It didn’t include alcohol but it did include a 5K run. We ran clad in all white and even added white tutus! It was a great deal of fun.

    I love your pictures. They capture the fun, the light and the color so wonderfully. I’ll bet you had as much fun during your color celebration as we did at ours!

    1. I put mine inside a clear bag (with holes for the lens and straps) then taped it up like crazy! It worked remarkably well; the lens was spotless, the camera had a fine layer of powder in places.. Hope you have fun 🙂

  26. Wow! Great pictures you have there. May I know what model of camera you are using? My friend had bought a Nikon (I forgot the model & spec etc), looked professional used camera. But the pics did not come so good as yours.

      1. Yes, i absolutely agree with you. I brows through some of your pics Cobbled lanes and sweeping sands, they are really professional, artistic, and capture the true feeling as if i was there 😀 thumbs up and keep it up!

  27. Colors of LIFE. Beautiful colors.. beautiful people… beautiful pictures. Shouldn’t this what life be about all over the world? Fun, laughter, color and joy? Thanks for sharing.

  28. I recently visited a similar event in Germany. Being an Indian I feel proud to see people all over the world relishing this beautiful Holi festival. I loved your photos. Thanks a lot for sharing them.

  29. Top photos dude. My friend told me about this after I saw a pic of him covered in colour too. I may well have to check it out next year!

  30. Pingback: Let there be colour! | Barbara J. Markle

  31. Hello ,

    Being Indian, I completely love the Holi Festival (despite the wee bit of chaos it has degenerated into over the years, here in India).
    Your pictures truly capture the vibrancy this festival originally stood for.
    Love the post 🙂

    1. Thank you! I breathed in a LOT and it didn’t seem to do me any harm! I know it was non toxic, etc, though I imagine – as with most things – that too much of it probably wouldn’t be a good thing…

  32. That’s great. I remember reading something online about that event and wanting to go. Couldn’t unforntunately due to work, Hope you had an amazing time. Your photos prove you did!

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