• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Germans import an Indian splash of colour

The Local · 11 Jun 2013, 05:42

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.

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)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Pegida take to Dresden streets - to march against Pegida
Pegida demonstrators. Photo: DPA

Followers of the xenophobic Pegida movement marched in two factions on Monday evening in the capital of Saxony, brandishing fierce accusations of treason against one another.

Analysis
Is it fair to call the AfD far right?
AfD leaders, from left, Georg Pazderski, Frauke Petry and Jörg Meuthen. Photo: DPA.

The AfD has been dubbed "far-right" over the past year as it has taken on a tougher stance against immigration and made gains in state elections. But at what point does one call a group far-right?

Dresden police guard Islamic buildings after mosque attack
The Dresden mosque that was hit by a homemade bomb attack on Monday. Photo: DPA.

All Islamic buildings in the capital of Saxony have been put under police protection on Tuesday after explosive devices were detonated at a mosque and a congress centre in the city.

Germany blocks WhatsApp data transfers to Facebook
Photo: DPA

German data protection authorities on Tuesday said they had blocked Facebook from collecting subscriber data from its subsidiary WhatsApp, citing privacy concerns.

Stuttgart fest pulls in twice as many boozers as Oktoberfest
Is this Oktoberfest or is this Stuttgart's Cannstatter Volksfest? Can you tell the difference? Well, it's Stuttgart. Photo: DPA.

Apparently Munich is no longer the top place to wear lederhosen and down beer one litre at a time.

The Local List
10 German films you have to watch before you die
Photo: DPA

These films are so good, not even The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari made the list.

Young man destroys 17 cars after visiting Oktoberfest

Early on Monday morning a drunk 29-year-old trashed 17 cars after staggering out of Oktoberfest into the Munich streets. It was one of several eye-popping crimes from "Wiesn" over the past few days.

VW emissions scandal
Audi tech chief leaves after reports link him to 'dieselgate'
Audi's head of technical development Stefan Knirsch stepped down on Monday. Photo: DPA.

Audi's head of technical development stepped down "with immediate effect" on Monday, the luxury carmaker announced, after German media accused him of involvement in parent company Volkswagen's "dieselgate" scandal.

Deutsche Bank shares hit lowest level in quarter century
Photo: DPA.

Shares in Deutsche Bank, Germany's biggest lender, sank to a historic low on Monday after reports at the weekend that Berlin had refused state aid for the embattled lender.

The Local List
The 10 worst German cities for students to find digs
Photo: DPA

It's the start of autumn, which means the start of the university year. But along with the excitement comes the stress of finding housing - and in some glamorous locations this can be a nightmare.

Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Lifestyle
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Lifestyle
10 German films you have to watch before you die
Lifestyle
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
Lifestyle
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
National
Seven great reasons to stay in Germany this September
National
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
National
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
National
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Culture
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Rhineland
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Travel
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
6,511
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd