March 09, 2023

Holi Hai! Residency DAY 8

by Nikki Culley

Thick white smoke filled the air as the burning logs turned to embers. An elder man from the Rathwa community we were visiting, emptied a bucket of manure at the end of a short length of the burning embers, to cool the feet of the group of men who would walk across them. This ritual is part of the Holi celebrations.

The group of men circled the embers to music and drums 5 times before walking one by one across the hot ash.

Others fanned the glowing embers to keep them hot and soon the whole village community had made their way out to watch.

Photographers on the residency were also invited into a nearby Rathwa home to see a newly laid floor in the main room, made from a mix of mud and cow manure, smoothed into patterns with hands and left to set. A new layer is laid every year for Holi.

Plans for a Holi fair with celebrations, music and dancing in the village had been delayed due to a bereavement in the community.