How can a party successfully move from one country, one culture, one continent, to a completely different party? When the country of origin is as exotic and exotic as India, the festival of Holi knows no age or social barriers. In fact, this is the time of the year when these are broken out, just like the carnival (Androxu in Asturias) but without the masks or costumes.
The festival of Holi is dirty, noisy, dynamic and colorful. In India, where the caste system is still prevalent only in the collective subconscious, Holi is the only occasion when everyone (poor, rich, students, workers, industrialists, young, old…) participates in one event. Dances and smiles. After the harsh winter season, it’s an excuse to welcome spring by throwing colored powders in the air as crops and flowers fill the fields with color.
Many Holi parties are organized in Spain (especially in Barcelona) by various private companies and associations. Among them Holi activities (throwing of colored powders and colored water) were either enlivened by Hindu music and aesthetics, or failed rather than Bollywood.
But in Asturias it is given a different touch. Yes, there is the spirit of Vishnu and Krishna, colored powders and jumping (or dancing) to music. But not limiting himself to more or less Hindu music, last Friday’s Holi Party Festival held in the square of the impressive Niemeyer Center in Aviles provided a soundtrack of rock and electronics.
Before five o’clock in the afternoon, the official opening time of the first show, groups of people, especially young people and twenty-somethings, have already begun to appear in Avilés, heading towards the catwalk and the bridge that gives access to Niemeyer. They are identified by wearing white or light clothes, the prescribed clothes for the festival, so that the colors are more prominent.
Entry to the festival is free, with the only restriction being that no food, drink or gulal or Holi, colored powders can be introduced. All three items can be bought there at affordable prices (in this case, a music festival lasting 9 hours, for me it’s a cache of beer for 5 euros). Gulal sachets cost 2 euros but with that their ingredients are considered controlled and certified.
In theory, the envelopes would be opened and their contents released en masse into the air after the countdown at the end of each show, before starting the next one for a total of six. In theory. Let’s see who is the handsome man who will make the concert audience perform as expected. Don’t get me wrong, there were spectacular mass launches of colored powder as planned, but by 6:20pm (the first of them), Niemeyer’s site was no longer white.
And this is normal. You’re wearing the best clothes you can, dirty, you’re in a spectacular open space, the only work of the architect Oscar Niemeyer in Spain, the clouds disappear, suddenly sunglasses are justified, you surround yourself with friends. And in hand are two sachets of colored powders. The normal thing is to open at least one of them, not just one?
You really open up. In the Niemeyer Center Plaza, small colored clouds appear from time to time, under which are couples, friends and groups of all ages smiling at each other in blue, yellow or pink. When the floor is covered with the remains of each envelope, someone, child or adult, decides to “thunder” or use them to carefully and methodically pick up the palm and immediately rub it. They are against other people’s skin or clothing. .
From 5:00 pm on a separate stage called El Chico Pionico or El Conejo (DJ), he dedicates body and soul to make the general public jump, shout and have fun. When 18:20 arrives, the music ends and the moment everyone has been waiting for begins. A countdown begins from loudspeakers before the watchful eyes of photographers who protect their equipment with plastic.
Upon reaching zero, thousands of people break the immobility of their bodies in unison, stretch out their arms in search of the sky, and jealously throw the colored powder in their pockets into the air. Within a couple of seconds, the Niemeyer Center Plaza was filled with small clouds of polychrome smoke, accompanied by loud clapping and cheering from those who blew it.
It’s the first time of the night but not the last time. The Holi Party Festival lasts until two in the morning, with a total of 15,000 people passing through Niemeyer, with up to 5,000 spectators at the peak. Avilés-Oviedo and Avilés-Gijón night bus services will be insufficient and not surprising.
What makes the Niemeyer Center unique is that its enclosed auditorium can open its stage to the outdoors. For most performances, an enclosed theater where the audience sits in seats facing the stage.
But sometimes, like Holi Party celebrations, it slows down. Then the back of the stage opens onto the Plaza del Niemeyer and the number of people who can enjoy the show multiplies.
It happened on Friday, with El Chico Pionico aka El Conejo (DJ), Hugo Le-Loup (DJ), French Naive New Peters (whose vocalist David Boring is quite the showman), Nasty Things (DJ), Dorian (yes, that Dorian) and Iggy. (DJ) performed on Friday afternoon and evening. If the day looked like it was going to be gray in Aviles on Friday, the cloud storms broke and ushered in a more colorful day.
The Holy Party Festival at the Niemeyer Center in Avilés is a hit with teenagers and under-twenties.
It’s also for those whose identity card reminds them they’re over thirty, because what sane and normal adult doesn’t appreciate the chance to jump to the beat of rock and techno and get dirty with colored powder?
More information about Holi Party Festival in Aviles
Official Website of Holi Party Festival in Aviles.
As one post fell short, we have a full photo album about the Holi Party festival on the Viajablog Facebook page.
Official website of the Niemeyer Center in Avilés.
The white surface of the Niemeyer Center in Aviles on the ping map.
I met my friend, blogger and photographer Victor at the party and this is how he describes the experience through his words and camera on his blog Machbel.com.
We appreciate the cooperation provided by the staff of the Niemeyer Center in facilitating the organization of the event (professional communication by Nuria Fernández), support services, and the photography accompanying this article.
This post is based on the experience of attending the Holi party festival and data obtained from various online newspapers. As these last sources are members of AEDE, this author is not allowed to link to their articles due to the recent approval in Congress of the “Google Tax” or “Canon AEDE”.