Home to 1.3 billion people, India is a complex and diverse country filled with many cultures and traditions. On Saturday, the Penn Museum presented Hello India!, part of its World Culture Day celebration.
A visual feast
Featuring music and dance presentations, an introduction to Karnatakan cooking, yoga, film, art and crafts, games originating from India, sari wrapping, henna, and more, the event culminated with a “carnival of colors” in honor of the Hindu festival of Holi, a holiday celebrating the coming of spring in which people cover one another in colorful powders and paints. Holi dates at least to the fourth century BCE; explanations of its origins blend a number of stories from Hindu mythology.
Celebrations differ from region to region, but generally the festival spans two days and sometimes includes drinking a cocktail called bhang lassi, a marijuana-infused yogurt drink, or banging men over the heads with long sticks (it's all in fun, and the men get to use shields to protect themselves). The Penn Museum stuck to a family-friendly menu, but aside from that, hardly held back. There was no better way to enjoy such a visually thrilling day except through the lens of a camera.