There is something very beautiful in the concept of a city. When we think of a metropolis as a place where millions of people from different countries, cultures, and religions gather together to work, eat, and live as a group, urban life almost sounds like a spiritual experience. Yet, at the moment not many of us think this way about life in the city. Instead, we tend to complain about how hard it can be. But why do we endure it? We could move. We all cherish our precious egos and spend so much time cultivating our individual selves, but we seem to somehow be drawn to one another and to want to live together–as if we all had an unidentified human need for unity. Might this be why we love our cities?
Bruno Pieters asks: What might help to create a more powerful feeling of oneness in our cities?
Holi Festival answers: The city can be a place of both unity and anonymity at the same time. It mainly depends on the context–meaning: what do the people living there, those who make up the city, offer to their fellow human beings. We, the HOLI Festival team, strongly believe in the unifying power of culture. That’s why we adopted the basic idea of the Indian Holi Festival.
There, people come together once a year to celebrate a cultural festival, enjoy the music and the unity. Moreover and maybe even more important: people come together as one: at the Holi celebration, everyone is equal (the Indian caste system is abrogated during the celebrations in northern India). Everyone is free. Everyone can feel the exact same societal belonging.
These ideas of tolerance, freedom, equality and unity are very important nowadays, especially in efforts to chip away at urban anonymity. People have the need to come together and celebrate together. The success of the HOLI Festival speaks for itself–an extraordinary and still rising demand from the audience, media and public show that the idea of the festival meets people’s desires.
The European premiere will take place in Berlin, because it is known for its tolerance and freedom. We hope this will send a signal to all other cities! We hope the spirit of Berlin, which matches with the ideals of the Holi Festival perfectly, will spread to other cities and that they will absorb the power and energy embodied in the HOLI Festival celebrations.
We aim to bring people together, to unite them, to let them feel free and to–literally speaking–color their lives as they throw colorful powder and break the symbolic barriers of inequality. We think that the HOLI Festival is a wonderful event where people can abandon urban anonymity and experience unity.