Living in Dallas has presented me with so many unique opportunities to experience new things. A week ago I got to attend a Dallas fashion show and just a day ago I attended my first Holi Festival! My little hometown in Maryland didn’t have much opportunity for cultural experiences beyond an annual Celtic festival. Having seen how beautiful the “Festival of Colors” is, I had to experience it for myself. While I didn’t get to travel to India to participate, I did get to enjoy it right here in Dallas! This cross-cultural experience was probably one of my favorite experiences and definitely one that was enriching.
My friend Laila and I got tickets to go to Dallas’ annual Holi Festival together. Frankly, I didn’t know what to expect. I don’t know much about Indian culture and certainly didn’t know what Holi even meant or was. After doing a little research though, I learned that Holi is a Hindu spring festival celebrating the arrival of spring, end of winter, and traditionally a good harvest. The multi-colored powders used in the celebration are made from crushed flowers and other natural colors. At our celebration, festival attendees threw their brightly colored powders in the air and shouted “Happy Holi!”
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m as “white” as the day is long. Attending Holi was not an attempt to “culture appropriate” I believe the term is. It was a fun way to learn about a new culture and appreciate the exciting celebrations that happen around the world. Cross-cultural experiences are important because they allow people of all origins to learn about the customs of others and enjoy them without giving up their own culture. When I got to the festival, I didn’t have any “colors” on my skin or in my hair and several other attendees that were of Indian descent and knew what they were doing came up to me and patted my face with bright pinks and blues and wished me a happy Holi. How kind of them to share their traditions and celebrations with an obvious outsider?
Dancing, eating, and throwing Holi powder in the air were the best parts of the festival. I got to try several Indian dishes including this delicious one pictured above. After eating my weight in Chicken Manchurian, Laila and I made our way back into the crowd to dance off our food. As you can imagine, I don’t know many traditional Indian dances but I tried my best to follow along.
I loved this event and plan to go back next year! Dallas really is a melting pot of people. Enjoying other people’s culture while still appreciating my own is so important to my personal development not only as a Dallas blogger, but also as a person.