Sixth annual Holi festival celebrates spring in colorful fashion in San Ramon

Indian cultural celebration at City Center marks winter's end

Hundreds attended the Holi Festival, throwing brightly colored powder at one another, painting the City Center Southeast Parking Lot rainbow. (Photo by Ryan J. Degan)

The outskirts of City Center Bishop Ranch was covered in a bright multicolored cloud on Friday, when its sixth annual Holi festival returned to San Ramon, marking the beginning of the spring in a celebration of love, color and multiculturalism.

Also known as the “Festival of Colors” and the “Festival of Love,” Holi is a traditional Hindu celebration from India that celebrates the triumph of good over evil and correlates with the passing of winter into spring.

Hundreds of Tri-Valley residents dressed in white and gathered in City Center’s southeast parking lot on Friday to join communities all across the world in celebrating the festival in colorful fashion, by throwing handfuls of brightly colored powder at one another.

“It’s fun for the whole family, that's what it seems like really,” said Matt Gassmann, who attended the festival with his wife Nafis. “We haven’t been married very long, but we enjoy new experiences together and this looked like fun. And it was close by, we only live about a half an hour away.”

Attendees were also provided with additional entertainment that included music, dancing, a large collection of food trucks, face painting, henna tattoo artists, a kids zone hosted by the city of San Ramon and a special Bollywood dance performance.

In its sixth annual celebration, Bishop Ranch officials may have switched venues from its traditional location at 2600 Camino Ramon to new City Center, but the festival still maintained its emphasis on commemorating the vibrant, abundant colors of springtime, and celebrating the culture of the region’s Indian and Hindu population.

“It’s very lively we've only seen these on TV,” Erin Hirst said prior to the start of the festival. Hirst attended the event with her 2-year-old, Emily, after hearing about it through the Bishop Ranch Daycare Center. She told that she was excited to attend the festival and expose Emily to a new cultural event.

“It'll be fun to do the color throwing and see how the kids react, she's not even 3 yet so we’ll see how she reacts to it,” Hirst said. “It should be fun; it’s an opportunity to expose her to some different ideas to some different cultures.”

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