To mark the arrival of spring, clouds of brightly colored powders wafted through the air in front of the First Free Evangelical Church as Brooklynites celebrated the Indian Festival of Color on Friday, March 27.
The festival, known as Holi, has its roots in Hindu folklore and involves the playful throwing of colored powder during the beginning of March.
As per tradition, the powers were dyed using plant-based ingredients. Spinach, kale, beets and turmeric were mixed with talcum powder to create the vivid greens, reds, pinks and yellows that eventually ended up on the faces, hair and clothing of participants.
“It’s such a rich celebration,” said organizer Victoria Hofmo. “It’s been a tough winter so to have this going on was great.”
After the fluorescent dust cleared, attendees were taught traditional dances and songs by Aeilushi Mistry, a classically trained Indian dancer.
Traditional Indian fare was on the menu as well, Hofmo says, noting that a vegetable potato pancake with onions and cilantro on top was a big hit with the crowd of around 50 people.
“It was a real community event,” she said.