A spring celebration, India-style, will be bringing colour to Durham with the return of the popular powder-throwing ceremony.
The event at the Oriental Museum on March 14 will be a central part in the Holi Festival taking place in the city.
And it will offer plenty opportunity for crowds to join in the throwing of colourful powder which is a traditional – and messy – part of the festivities.
India’s famous spring celebration always sees streets transformed into a rainbow of colours during the event.
Its history is said to relate to the god Krishna who, as a youngster, despaired over having blue skin until his mother encouraged him to playfully throw multi-colour powders over others so that everyone looked the same.
This became known as the Festival of Colours and shaking bright powder over friends and family has become a popular activity across the country.
The version at Durham University’s Oriental Museum will make use of harmless environmentally-friendly powder which is kind to skin.
During the day, from 12noon to 5pm, there also will be Holi face painting and elephant rangoli – patterned folk art – to try as well as food on sale in the museum cafe.
Before the powder throw, visitors will be invited to visit its Asia galleries; hear the traditional story of Holi and take part in themed art and crafts.
Then outside there will be a countdown to the powder throw, accompanied by music including Bollywood, classic Indian Holi songs, Bhangra and upbeat pop.
Music is a big part of India’s festival of spring which is all about celebrating new life, having fun and appreciating beauty.
Durham‘s wider festival, which will get under way on February 29 and run until March 2, will feature more Indian music capturing these moods.
There will be Hindustani classical music concerts – presented by Musicon in association with GemArts – which will begin on February 29, following a pre-festival talk with Hindustani singer and musician Apoorva Gokhale, in the university’s Department of Music in Palace Green.
The next concert will take place in the same venue on the morning of March 1 and then a third will be hosted at St Chad’s College Chapel at North Bailey the next evening. A festival pass, costing £16 or £6 to students, will give access to all three concerts.
Taking part in the outdoor powder-throwing ceremony costs £4 which includes one bag of coloured powder, although there will be opportunities to buy more as plenty of powder will be available for scattering, in a range of colours.
Those wanting to join in are advised against wearing their best clothes and to opt for something light-coloured to best show up the powder.
They are five 45-minute sessions available to book on the day and these include a mix of general and ‘family’ slots. To book tickets to a Holi Festival powder session see here and for more about what’s happening at the Oriental Museum see here.