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India's Holi Festival

Hue look great: India’s Holi festival is a celebration of colors. Photo: iStockphoto

This week in India millions of Hindus will shower each other with colored dye and perfumed water to celebrate the festival of Holi, which marks the beginning of spring. Holi got its start as the “Festival of Colors” inhonor of the Hindu god Krishna, who was said to play pranks on village girls by drenching them in colored water.

Holi is biggest in northern India, though people around the world have adopted this rainbow-colored spring celebration. In India, Delhi has a series of events that are particularly friendly to foreign visitors, like the Holi Cow Festival.

If you can’t make it to this year’s Holi festival, there are several other colorful destinations you can visit year-round. The islands of Murano and Burano are a short ferry ride off the coast of Venice and are known for the bright houses lining their narrow canals. Island residents originally painted their housesin vivid colors so that they could recognize them in the fog, and the tradition has continued into modern times. Murano is known for its handmade glass and the kaleidoscopic millefiori (“thousand flowers”) patterns that cover everything from jewelry to vases.

Guanajuato, Mexico is another place that pops with color. Built in a picturesque valley, it’s known as the heartland of Mexico and is full of boldly-hued homes. It’s also a UNESCO World Heritage site and the birthplace of Diego Rivera: His childhood home has been turned into a museum displaying his vivid, Aztec-influenced art.

The country that produced artists like Van Gogh and Willem de Kooning must be a colorful place, right? Well, the Netherlands doesn’t disappoint. Wander through the countryside and you’ll find vibrant fields of colors and brightly colored houses lining the canals. Besides a visit to the fields themselves, there are also numerous events celebrating the Dutch floral industry. At the Bloemencorso, or “flower parade,” towns compete for the honor of best float with 30-foot tall cows and schools of goldfish made only of flowers and wire.

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Jamie Smith

Jamie Smith

Jamie Smith is a writer, traveler and lover of cities currently living in Austin, Texas. Follow her on Twitter at @shameonseamus.
Jamie Smith

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