Holi Festival El Gouna
People have been talking about the Holi Festival Rainbow Explosion for months. The Club House, already famous for it’s parties and events, has the honour of hosting this event. And rightly so. Hoda Mansour, the longstanding owner of the Club House came up with the idea of celebrating Holi only 3 years ago. She now brings us Holi Festival part 3. And what a brilliant idea. On one occasion it was even said that it is Gouna’s most celebrated event and Gounies dare not miss it.
So, what is The Holi Festival? It is actually an ancient Hindu festival celebrated mostly on the Indian subcontinent, neighbouring countries, and the Hindu diaspora over the world. It has now become very popular amongst non-Hindu’s because it is just plain fun.
For Gounies, in particular, it’s a fine excuse for a celebration. The classic Holi celebration stems from the victory of good over evil which is characterised by the victory of spring over winter. And the theme? Colour! A lot of colour! As blossoms bloom, birds sing, it gets warmer and we become happier, so the Holi festival represents this change in a vast array of brilliance.
The return of the sun is celebrated in countless ways all over the world, but Holi is full of fun for all ages and is a way to let go and become a child again – a child who does not care how dirty he gets or how silly she looks. For those who have done this before, or something similar, know that the best colour to wear is white as this will best display just how much fun you’ve had.
It is truly amazing how, when there is expectation amongst humans, you can feel it in the air. The doors opened at 1pm but the 1st rainbow explosion was only at 3:30pm. This wait simply bred more ambient electricity and gave the latecomers a chance not to miss anything.
Before carrying on: what is a rainbow explosion? Commonly known as a colour run, small bags of coloured powder are distributed amongst attendees who, in unison, proceed to douse each other in an array of colours. The powder looks a bit like chalk powder but all powder is certified as non-toxic and free of heavy metals. The powder is made up of a combination of cornstarch, baking soda and FD&C dyes. FD&C dyes are basically health and safety approved food colourants. What makes rainbow explosion better than a colour run is that, in a colour run, there are people who throw colours at other people – 2 sides to the story. In a rainbow explosion, everybody is in. You douse and you get doused.
When 3:30 finally came, partygoers and children alike gathered in front of the stage while the more apprehensive spectators watched from a safe distance. Sytze Boomsma, one of Gouna’s treasures, led the countdown with his dulcet tones. In true MC style, he made everybody wait through 2 countdowns. The first countdown simply had the bags of colour powder thrown out to a sea of outstretched arms. But those hands quickly went from outstretched to scouring the floor for all the dropped bags. The rule is: collect, open and distribute colour over anyone and everyone. And that’s exactly what happened. When the second countdown came to a close, the air erupted in a cloud of colourful smoke, the DJ turned the music up and everybody got what hey came for: colourful happiness. In that moment there was nothing else in the world but music, laughter, colour and unfenced joy.
After this, the Club House was the scene of big smiles and everybody taking about a million selfies. Groups were getting together, pulling all sorts of ridiculous faces to make the most impressive or funny photo of the day. After the excitement ebbed and gave way to calm joy, DJ Dan G, played a relaxed set of classic 60’s and 70’s tunes which fitted the vibe of an afternoon on the beach. Most attendees grabbed a few drinks, laughed with their friends and those who were not as well covered in powder were hugged and rubbed to share the happiness. There was a definite correlation between the look of blissful joy on somebody’s face and the amount of colour they had on them.
Round 2 came at about 5pm after some staggered lead ups from Sytze. When he said “15 minutes to the next one”, up went the electricity in the air. Again, everybody gathered in front of the stage, wanting to go even deeper into colour. Again, 2 countdowns and then the explosion happened again. I’m not sure whether it was the dimming of the sun or something else, but this rainbow explosion was even better than the first. Somehow the excitement and energy was even bigger. This, coupled with hard-hitting beats from the DJ and some solid bass from the speakers made one of the best afternoons you can hope for in Gouna. I guess that last statement depends on an individual’s preferences in life, but there is something primal and spiritual about seeing humans happy and free.
Aside from the main event, there were 2 large and colourless images of Elephants ready for the children to paint in whatever colours they decided. The elephant is a remnant of the Indian subcontinent, making a reference to the roots of the celebration. It was fun to check in every once in a while to see the elephants slowly growing in colour.
As the sun said goodbye to a fantastic day, the little tikes and their parents had to leave. But the party continued, kid-free, until midnight where there was dancing, and some very good music. Although not as well attended as the daytime rainbow explosion, the Club House still hosted a party in true Club House fashion – excellence.
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