Holi Hai Celebrations: Busan.

Splash some color in your life!


It is well known by many Expats that the celebration of Holi Hai in Busan is one not to be missed.  For a small 10,000won fee you receive an Indian paper hat, and a sack of powder color. For those of you that have no idea what Holi Hai is, like I did… here’s an explanation.

3.jpgHoli Hai is a Hindu spring celebration that signifies the victory of good over evil, love, the approach of the full moon (Phalguna Purnima) and the end of winter.  The origins of this joyous festival all begin with an evil king, King Hiranyakashipu and his evil sister Holika. The king’s son was a righteous man and did not follow Hiranyakashipu’s rules. Holika decided it was time to take Prahlada, the son out of the picture, permanently. Blah Blah Blah……..Let’s get to the good stuff.

If you get the chance to experience Holi for yourself, here is what to expect.  The night before is celebrated with food, drinks and a massive bonfire.  The next day is the main event, the festival of color.  The dress code? White.  Objective? Throw as much color on other people as humanly possible.  In India, where the festival calls home, there is a colored powder fight, followed by liquid paint, followed by a massive water fight.  Anyone and everyone is fair game and it takes place anywhere outside.  Streets, parks and outside temples.  For us, it was at Haeundae Beach and we had everything but water guns.  When the ‘Indians of Korea’ organization gave the sound off it was an explosion of color in the air, Bollywood music and color fights.


To do this event right, like many expats, I suggest you partake in binge drinking the night before to honor your Irish friends for St. Patrick’s day. Wake up early the next day for the best hangover cure of your life…a color fight.


So if you are needing a bit of color in your life and want to get in the mood for spring I suggest going to this bright and playful festival every year in March.  I also might suggest staying at WoW Guesthouse in Busan, it was a 3 minute walk to Haeundae Beach and is a great hostel!



I mean really, what better way to welcome spring with a Bollywood dance party on the beach and a massive color fight.  The only awkward part, for you out of towners of Busan… is taking the train home looking like the rainbow just puked on you.  Think Koreans stare at you now… wait till that train ride home.


Warning: Wear sunglasses and keep the mouth shut.  Color powder goes everywhere… I mean E-V-E-R-Y-W-H-E-R-E…found a pocket of powder in my bellybutton.




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Courtney French's Clinical Experience

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