• Germany's news in English
 

Germans import an Indian splash of colour

Published: 11 Jun 2013 05:42 GMT+02:00

It was a beautiful summer day in Leverkusen near Cologne on Saturday. The Neuland Park located on the banks of the Rhine River was packed with hundreds of people swaying to electronic music fused with Indian beats. A total 9,000 people visited the festival and had the chance to experience a slice of India’s exotic magic. That is just what the organizers were aiming at said Maxim Derenko. His colleague Jasper Hellman travelled to India in 2011 and was completely smitten by the Holi festivities in Delhi.

As per the Hindu calendar, the festival of Holi is celebrated on the last full moon in February or March, to mark the arrival of the spring season. People smear each other with colours and share sweetmeats. The festival denotes joy and happiness and on this particular occasion all caste barriers are let down. This spirit of togetherness inspired Hellman to transport the festival back to Germany. In Berlin, Hellman got together with Derenko and Max Riedel and launched their first Holi event in Berlin. The event was sold out immediately and the trio set out to color cities across Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

The event in Leverkusen kicked off at noon with techno music followed by drummers in ethnic costumes. Meike, a 23-year-old student said she loved the music at the festival. “I am not a Bollywood fan, but I like the way they have mixed Indian elements to the music," she said. "Also, the atmosphere here is so peaceful, guess that the karma is just right here!”

Casually dressed mostly in white, visitors flocked the huge stage with live performances. However, there was also the option to lay back and chill near smaller stage with a DJ keeping one entertained. Food stalls offered a variety of cuisine: crepes, sausages, and not-so-spicy chicken curry. There was a special stall set up for ladies, where they could accessorize themselves with a free Bindi (a popular forehead decoration in India, a red bindi symbolizes that the woman wearing it is married).

The colour packets could be bought for €2 each at the festival. Visitors were not allowed to bring their own colours as the organizers wanted to make sure that the substances used were harmless.

The party was at its peak around 3.30pm when the first round of colours went up in the air. The colour throwing and smearing was repeated every hour and the last one was at 9.30pm shortly before the festival came to an end.

Karin(54) mother of two let herself be persuaded by her daughter to go the festival. “It's fascinating! The music is great and it’s sunny. Even though I don’t know anything about India, I love the concept, there is something for all age groups and I would definitely visit the festival again!”

The festival collaborated with Incredible India, Indian Tourism Office in Frankfurt to expand the spirit of Holi in Germany. Many visitors were however unaware of the festival’s real significance. And for others, the India-fans, the festival left a bitter taste of commercialization behind.

Sven (41) has a special place for India in his heart. On a vacation in Goa he met his wife and also had the chance to celebrate the festival in India. “This is just a Techno music festival where people throw colour at each other. There is nothing Indian about this festival, not even stands selling authentic Indian food or souvenirs.”

The fans hoped that the organizers would add a few more elements of authentic India to the festival in the future.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Presented by the Croatian National Tourist Board
10 surprising things you didn’t know about Zagreb
Zagreb is a hot spot for tourists from Germany. But why? Photo: Shutterstock

10 surprising things you didn’t know about Zagreb

The Croatian capital is the latest trendy destination among Germans seeking warmer weather. So what’s the lure? The Local investigates ten reasons why the Deutsch are flocking to Zagreb. READ  

Greece crisis
Varoufakis begs for calm in war of words
Greek Independence Day celebrations on March 24th. Photo: DPA

Varoufakis begs for calm in war of words

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis called on German and Greek leaders to calm their rhetoric over his country's bailout programme in an op-ed published in Germany on Monday. READ  

Alps Plane Crash
Lufthansa fear second black box won't be found
A flight data recorder. Photo: DPA

Lufthansa fear second black box won't be found

Germany's national airline Lufthansa says that the flight data recorder which could provide key evidence about the causes of the Germanwings plane crash last Tuesday may never be found. READ  

Rail in north and east delayed by storms
Photo: DPA

Rail in north and east delayed by storms

Rail passengers will have to deal with delays on several key rail lines after storms on Sunday night caused damage to infrastructure. READ  

Germany grab vital win in Georgia
Photo: DPA

Germany grab vital win in Georgia

Marco Reus and Thomas Müller's first-half goals sealed a 2-0 win in Georgia on Sunday to put the world champions' Euro 2016 qualifying campaign back on track. READ  

Ethiopia's Legese wins Berlin half marathon
Ethiopia's Legese (R) crosses the finish line just ahead of Kenya's Kogei. Photo: APF

Ethiopia's Legese wins Berlin half marathon

Ethiopia's Birhanu Legese won the Berlin half marathon on Sunday as African runners dominated the top ten finishers in the men's race. READ  

Spectator killed in Nürburgring crash
A section of the Nürburgring's north circuit

Spectator killed in Nürburgring crash

A man has been killed and several others injured in an accident at Germany's Nürburgring racetrack. READ  

Alps Plane Crash
Germany to hold April service for crash victims
Photo: DPA

Germany to hold April service for crash victims

Germany will hold a national memorial ceremony and service on April 17 for victims of the Germanwings flight that crashed in the French Alps, killing all 150 aboard, regional authorities said on Saturday. READ  

Scientists aiming to redefine the kilogram
The world's roundest sphere. Photo: DPA

Scientists aiming to redefine the kilogram

The German Nation Metrology Institute (PTB) in Braunschweig has set itself the enormous task of finding a new formula for measuring a kilogram. READ  

Alps Plane Crash
Germanwings co-pilot 'hid illness' on crash day
Photo: DPA

Germanwings co-pilot 'hid illness' on crash day

Germanwings said on Friday that it had no knowledge of a doctor-signed sick note found by investigators at flight 4U9525 co-pilot Andreas Lubitz's flat. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Can the 'nightmare' of a pilot downing a plane be prevented?
National
LIVE: Co-pilot suspected of crashing plane
Pupils mourn lost classmates
National
Freed after 25 years on death row
National
Cologne Cathedral returns from space
Sponsored Article
What expat parents should ask before choosing a school
Features
Paddy's Day, Berlin style
Is your workload 'out of control'? You're not alone...
National
Why east Germans are happy to get it on on camera
National
What would you do with a 250-year-old pretzel?
Features
Just why is the German flag Schwarz, Rot, Gold?
Business & Money
Getting German workers and bosses thinking positive
National
Uplifting thoughts to get you through the last week of winter
National
Who wants the Olympics more - Hamburg or Berlin?
National
Last-minute drama of Germany's Eurovision 2015 entry
National
German photographer takes world's top prize
Features
Meet the woman getting Germans to drink more – and better – beer
Gallery
Get inspired for International Women's Day with German heroes
Sponsored Article
Expert US tax preparation for Americans in Germany
Green party proposes first-ever cannabis legalization plan
Gallery
In pictures: Germany's seven most livable cities
National
Singapore canes Germans for train graffiti
Politics
Surprise! Germans love feeling like they run the EU
Politics
Anger over plan to show women what men earn
Travel
Munich tram fans bicker over new bell
Features
Kafka: puzzling translators 100 years on
Business & Money
France or Germany: Which country really is the best country to work in?
Photo: Police
Rhineland
Student driver crashes tank into family garden.
Photo: DPA
Politics
There was a notable absence at the Anti-Semitism Commission
National
How Dresden bombing still divides Germany, 70 years on
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Take a cute break with this gallery of baby animals
International
What's keeping UK expats from voting?
Photo: DPA
National
Terror alert at a new high. Should you be worried?
Gallery
The best regional foods TTIP opponents want to protect
Photo: DPA
Features
All you ever needed to know about Pegida
Photo: Shutterstock
Culture
This cosplayer did not think his plan through
National
Europe in statistics - from Spain to Sweden
Gallery
Top 12 German idioms
Culture
10 top tips for partying in Germany
Photo: DPA
Technology
What does the Chancellor see as the future of the internet?
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

7,127
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd