Holidays

The World's Best Costume Parties

by Sarah Gold

Holi, Northern India

What it is: A Hindu celebration of spring in which revelers douse themselves—and anybody nearby—in colored dye.

Party time: The first day after the full moon in March. In 2007, Holi celebrations start on March 3 and continue for several days.

The getup: Locals smear themselves, their clothing, and friends and neighbors with gulal, a bright dye made from powder. (Red and orange are especially popular; they symbolize passion and creativity.) Don't think you'll get off if you're just visiting—roving gangs of children armed with colored-water bombs and dye-filled pichkaris (like turkey basters) love to "decorate" passers-by.

Where it's at: All over India, although it's celebrated most feverishly in the northern regions. For visitors, we suggest Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Delhi. Since the celebrations vary by region, bone up on your Holi legends before you go.

What goes down: Apart from rampant squirting, Holi festivities include bonfires, music and dancing, and mass indulgence in thandai—a sort of "high chai" made with marijuana, milk, and spices. (And you're not even in Goa….)

For Holi legends and information: www.thecolorsofindia.com

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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