The Holi celebrations at Haeundae have been running for five years, with a varied crowd of about 1,500 participants last year.
Holi is a traditional Indian festival marking the end of winter and is celebrated by throwing colored powders and dyes on each other. The official date this year was March 8 but the Busan event organizers have pushed it back to March 22.
|Revelers celebrate by throwing colors at the Holi Hai festival in Busan last year. (IIK)|
It is taken as a time of reconciliation and repairing damaged relationships.
The organizers, one of two associations named Indians in Korea, said that the variety of people who got involved was in keeping with the festival’s ideals.
“The festival itself teaches us to forget our differences and celebrate as one, so every year we see people coming from all different age, ethnic and regional backgrounds enjoying the festival,” said IIK representative Amit Gupta.
“In previous years, we have seen kids as young as 2-3 years old to grandmothers participating and cherishing the festival. Last year, we had participants from more than 20 countries globally.”
Gupta said it was natural that a festival in Korea would include a lot of people from outside of India.
“I think this itself tells the success story of our festival as not only Indians but people from different cultural backgrounds enjoy the festival this much.”
The organizers live mostly in Seoul, but chose Busan for the venue to spread the multicultural activities around.
“We started this festival to promote multiculturalism in Korea and chose Busan as the place for our event keeping in mind that there are not many global activities taking place in Busan compared to Seoul,” said Gupta.
The celebrations will begin at 11:30 a.m. with dry colors, followed by face painting and Bollywood dancing, ending at 3 p.m.
“Passersby definitely look astonished by this event,” said Gupta. “Most of the time, once our volunteers explained about this festival, they ended up joining the celebration themselves.”
He added that they were hoping to add traditional dance to future festivals.
Gupta said that they would have about 50 volunteers and were working with Haeundae-gu authorities through the Busan Foundation for International Activities to help the event run smoothly.
The group also ran excursions to the Boryeong Mud Festival and Naejangsan Autumn Festival, as well as trips to support Indian athletes at the Asian Games in Incheon last year.
The festival takes place on March 22. Tickets are 10,000 won including a samosa, holi caps and colors. The organizers are also offering coach travel to people from other cities.
The deadline for reservations is Monday. For more information, visit www.holihai.net.
By Paul Kerry (firstname.lastname@example.org)