A colourful afternoon at Berlin’s first Holi Open Air Festival
Ten, nine, eight…3,000 people count down together. On the stage the DJ sets the beat with humming basses. Three, two, one, go!
Colours all over the place: neon green, sunny yellow, shining pink! A huge coloured dust cloud rises within seconds above the spectators. Hundreds of bags of coloured bags fly through the sky fountains. The coloured dust settles on our skin. Hilariously and with all our colours we dance to Indian music at the Holi Open Air Festival.
What happened before
On a rather grey summer Sunday in Berlin I meet my colleagues Susan and Karin at the entrance of the Postbahnhof station. We still have almost two hours until the colour battle begins. A long queue has already formed in front of the gate. Everybody is all wearing white clothes because colour can be best detected on them later. With some suntan oil the powder remains particularly long on the skin. At a stall we pick up a Bindi and decorate our foreheads in the Indian way between the eyebrows.
Almost 3pm: there are already many people on the open air field next to the suburban rail tracks at the Ostbahnhof station. The DJ and a strange fiddler in a panda costume provide the beat and dance music. Some visitors are already painted with colour powder. We, too, reach the sales stall and decide in favour of blue, turquoise, orange, pink and shining yellow.
Here we go: we show our colours. Susan gets a pink left cheek and a turquoise right one. Her nose is summer yellow. Karin wears her hair now in orange and my hands are decorated by all colours. An Indian comes on stage with a big bushy beard and a turban. He starts the countdown. The crowd is going crazy!
At 3pm sharp thousands are flinging colour powder bags through the air, everybody is throwing powder at everybody else. No part of the body remains white. My glasses are fogged by minute colour particles. When the coloured cloud gradually sinks after a few minutes, a lady with grey hair leaps at us: “You are still missing purple!” and she blows it laughingly into our faces.
After a bath in all colours rain is setting in. The colours become blurred on our skin. What remains: next time we will attend again… otherwise we would turn green with envy!