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Holi: The festival of color paints the Red Stick this Sunday

The onset of spring in Louisiana locals means Mardi Gras celebrations, crawfish boils, blooming azaleas, countless thunderstorms and warmer days. For Manisha Patel and others of Indian descent, it also brings the Holi Festival. Known as the “Festival of Color,” this holiday symbolizes new beginnings, and participants are invited to throw colored powders into the air to initiate a fresh season of good feeling. In India, Holi is celebrated in every corner of the country to have people unite together and set aside all resentment toward one another. As coordinator of the Holi Festival of Baton Rouge–which will take place this Sunday, March 24, from 1 to 4 p.m. in downtown Baton Rouge at Repentance Park, next to the Old State Capitol and the Raising Cane’s River Center–Patel made it her mission to bring this event to the Capital City in hopes of starting a new cultural tradition that instills happiness for years to come.

The majority of colored powder is made from cornstarch, but at Baton Rouge Holi Festival there will be organic arrowroot powder available for throwing. Caution! Don’t wear anything that you do not want stained. Photo courtesy Krishna Eco Farm.

Made from organic arrowroot powder, the colors are the main attraction of the Holi Festival. “Red signifies love and fertility, yellow represents the health of turmeric, green is for new beginnings, and blue is for the Hindu god named Krishna that has blue skin,” says Manisha. There are about six colors in total, including pink and orange, that are available to throw in celebration of spring.

Manisha explained that her favorite part of Holi is being able to act like a free-spirited kid again, throwing color everywhere and getting messy with loved ones. “On this day, if you are having a fight or are still in conflict with someone, it is about making up,” adds Manisha. “Holi is about forgiving and forgetting.”

Originally, the colors selected to throw for Holi came from flowers and herbs that are produced by India’s hot climate, while today they are mostly synthetic. Photo courtesy SpaDreams.

Those attending Baton Rouge’s Holi Festival can expect to see a series of four Indian dance performances by local groups, food trucks such as Mr. Ronnie’s, Indian cuisine provided by New Orleans’ Auction House Market’s Tava and a live DJ who will initiate the throwing of color every 40 minutes.

The festival is open to everyone and is a family-friendly, free event.

For more information about the Holi Festival, its history and more, check out the event page here. And tag @inRegister in your Festival of Color photos on Instagram for a chance to be featured on our story.