Your Guide to Holi, the World’s Best Holiday, in NYC

03/09/2012 3:00 PM |

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In India, they’re dousing each other in colored powder and water to celebrate one of the world’s most beautiful, if not most exhilarating, holidays. Holi marks the start of spring, and although India celebrated today, you still have time to get yourself technicolored out in the streets, squares, and bars of New York over the coming days and weeks.

Festival of Lights (NYC Holi)
You can kick off the New York Holi season at this rager. Expect DJs, dancing, love, drinks, jam bands, color, and the rare chance to throw things at strangers and have everyone be happy about it. The party’s hosts are a mysterious bunch, as is the party, which will be announced 24 hours before things get crazy. The website offers a simple caveat: “YOU WILL GET MESSY.”
March 9, 8pm, location TBA

Holi Festival 2012
Queens is home to some of the largest concentrations of Indian residents in the city. First up in its roster of Holi celebrations is this inventively titled party. The Association of Napalese Teraian in America is hosting, and there will be DJ’s, food, and a cultural show, according to the flyer. And remember: “Donations are appreciated Donations are appreciated Donations are appreciated.”
March 9, 6pm, Queens Plaza, 37-11 57th St.

Red Baraat’s Festival of Colors
Never one to miss out on a good dance party, Le Poisson Rouge will be hosting its own Holi-themed event. Along with several live bands, the party will feature headliners Red Baraat, the 9-piece funk, go-go, jazz, and anything else band labeled by LPR as a “dohl n’ bass juggernaut.” Oh yeah, and you’ll get to see artist Jehan’s bellydance troupe Raks*Stars, which should have you at “Bhangra Funk.”
March 10, 7pm, Le Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker St.

Salsa Bollywood Night
If you just happen to be a Latino heavily invested in south Asian culture, NYC Bhangra is hosting the perfect party for you on March 10th at The Empire Room. As a fundraising prelude to their main Holi event later in March, NYC Bhangra is offering salsa-dancing lessons, in conjunction with Soul Salsa, and a “Bollywood performance” by Valeria Entertainment.
March 10, 8pm, The Empire Room, 350 Fifth Ave.

The Phagwah Parade
A truly massive event, the Phagwah/Holi parade in Richmond Hill, Queens is a street gathering known to draw as many as 25,000 people. Bring clothes you will be happy to send straight to the incinerator once you’re done, ‘cause your body is about to become a double rainbow.
March 11, 12pm, Liberty and 133rd St., ends at Smokey Oval Park, 125th St.

Rang Barse
IN Group wants you on a boat, yeah, going fast and…getting pelted with neon powders by revelers as you circle southern Manhattan. It’s undoubtedly a scenic way to spend your Holi, and everyone seems to have a good time on the cruise—even middle-aged Huffington Post reporters. Tickets are pricey, but the live bhangra performances and spectacular views are worth it.
March 17, 12pm, Pier 16, South St. Seaport

Holi Hai Festival
The big one! Celebrate the coming of the warmer months at NYC Bhangra’s “Holi Hai” festival, at the end of March’s Holi calendar. Dancing, food, music, performances, the outdoors, and of course, lots of color: this party will have everything that is Holi. It’s the holiday’s New York climax.
March 25, 12pm, Dag Hammerskjald Park

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