Inspired by a celebration of peace and love marked across South Asia, this weekend sees a colourful event kick off in London
The original Hindu festival, held annually, is a tradition which marks the start of spring.
But thanks to the Holi-inspired Festival of Colour, you can get together in the middle of summer with loads of strangers – or friends you haven’t met yet – and get knee-deep in colourful powder and all-round good vibes.
This weekend in London’s Wembley Park hundreds of people will come together to douse themselves in coloured paint and to enjoy music and entertainment.
Read on for everything you need to know about the Holi Festival this year.
What is the Holi Festival?
The Holi festival of colours is also known as the festival of love.
Holi is an annual Hindu tradition observed predominantly in India, Nepal and south Asia but adopted across the world, including the UK.
The date varies but is always marked on the full moon, starting with a Holika bonfire with singing and dancing.
The next day, the streets explode with colour as people turn out armed with water balloons, water guns and dry coloured powder.
The festival marks the end of winter and the beginning of spring by highlighting positives, play, laughter and forgiveness.
Inspired by the Holi Festival is Europe’s own Holi Festival Of Colours, which brings together music and stalls in one venue in London.
What’s with the colour powder?
The organisers of the Holi believe that colourful powder, called gulal, combined with loud music, intoxicates the people with colour and music so that their religion and social status no longer matter.
This has been used in the UK version of the festival, which sees people throw coloured paint into the air (and often at each other).
How is it being celebrated in UK?
This year there’s a massive event at Wembley Park with all sorts of stalls, entertainment and, of course, gulal going all over the place.
The festival starts at 12 pm on August 13. From 3pm onwards there is a countdown to throwing the colours in the air every hour as part of the celebration. The last countdown is at 9.50 pm.
And just to note – most of the guests come in white clothes to make the effect of the colours more visible.
There are also other celebrations that take for Holi around the world, for example California will host two Holi events in September and October. Rio has also previously held Holi One events.
How can I buy tickets and get there?
Wembley Park has three stations – connecting to central London in 12 minutes, ample parking close to the heart of the site and excellent road connections to the M1, M40 and M25.
But be warned – the event is only for people age 18 and above. Even if accompanied by someone over 18, entrance to under 18s is forbidden.
How dangerous is it to throw paint around?
The colours are not dangerous, but the organisers advise that for protection you can wear something to protect your eyes or cover your mouth, such as a T-shirt. They only allow certified gulal powder which you will be be able to buy at the festival.
And don’t worry – colour comes out from your skin and hair. In rare cases the colourant may adhere to bleached or previously damaged hair, but organisers advise that if you find colour residue in you hair it’s not a dye, rather small colour particles that adhere to the hair – and they will disappear with repeated washing with normal shampoo.