• Germany's news in English

Germans import an Indian splash of colour

The Local · 11 Jun 2013, 05:42

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

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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.

Story continues below…

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)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Parents who don't get nursery spot for kid entitled to pay
Photo: DPA

The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) ruled on Thursday that parents whose children don't receive placements in nursery care are entitled to compensation.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd