ESPLANADE Brings People Together with HOLI Colours of Spring

March 13, 2017

As we enter the month of March, the shores and streets of our beautiful island are all set to get colourful as the Indian community celebrates Holi. The festive mood and spirit is simply and irresistibly infectious; one cannot help but want to pick up a handful of colour and join in this welcoming of Spring.

Even Esplanade wanted to get in on all the fun, as shared by Mr. David Pandarakannu, who leads the team of programmers, ESPLANADE Brings People Together with HOLI Colours of Spring.

If we have only one day to enjoy Holi in Singapore, what should we not miss in the line-up of activities at Esplanade?

Both 18 & 19 March are not to be missed – plenty of free programmes at the Esplanade Concourse and Outdoor Theatre featuring Bollywood and Folk songs, creating the Holi buzz. The actual colour-throwing party, Let’s Play Holi, will be held on both days this year.

Holi…We know it mostly through Bollywood. Rang Barse among the classic-lovers, and Balam Pichkaari for the newer bunch. Is that really what it is like on the streets of India?

he festivity of Holi – Colours of Spring at Explanade will be similar to what you would see on the streets of India, with colour-throwing parties and all. The advantage of Holi at Esplanade is the added emphasis on culture, and so visitors get to enjoy music and dance performances on top of the fun colour-throwing activity.

Holi ka Bhangra and Holi ka Naach (both on 18 March) will present not just traditional dances, but also classical, folk and contemporary fusion dances.

Does Holi have a space in today’s world, where cultures and traditions and festivals are slowly fusing to create a global culture?

Holi appeals to many non-Indians due to its vibrancy and the universal significance of colour. At Esplanade, we believe that the arts bring people together, and we make a conscious effort to include different communities and people from all walks of life. We focus more on the experience and the joy that the arts can bring, than the underlying religious connotations. This year, the Malayalee community will perform at the festival and so even Malayalees, who might have less affinity towards Holi, will join in the fun. This is how we use festivals like Holi to bring the diverse communities in Singapore together. Infact, at Esplanade’s past two Holi editions, we noticed small groups of non-Indian patrons who joined in especially for the colour-throwing event.

The activities cater to all age groups, and even have storytelling at PIP’s PLAY box for young children. The festival is a family-friendly, alcohol-free event with many friendly ushers to answer queries on the different programmes, so all communities feel comfortable attending it.

Holi Elephants is a free activity held throughout March in which chidren and families can decorate paper elephants with patterns and crazy colours, creating their own elephant parade.

What has been your biggest challenge organizing Holi – Colours of Spring?

Holi – Colours of Spring is still a relatively new festival as compared to the other cultural festivals at Esplanade such as Kalaa Utsavam, Pesta Raya, Huayi and Moonfest. I would say our biggest challenge for Holi is to engage audiences beyond our current base, who are curious and would like to find out more about Indian arts and culture.

As usual, we have friendly ushers on the ground to assist with simple queries on what programmes to look out for at each venue. For more information on the festival, please visit our website.

How much are the activities? Do we just turn up?

Admission is free for all the performances at the Esplanade Concourse and Outdoor Theatre. For Let’s Play Holi, the colour-throwing party, while admission is free, patrons will purchase the coloured powder. On a first-come-first-served basis, 50 packets of the coloured powder will be given away free. Our Mall tenant, Gajalee Seafood Restaurant, will also be selling finger food at the venue.

Amit Dhamelia & Band, Rhythmic Hues and Holi-wood se Bollywood will be performing classical music, popular folk tunes and original compositions over 18 and 19 March.

What are the thoughts that go into the selection of these activities and performances.

The selection of performances are curated to reflect the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring and end of winter, and a festive day to meet others, play and laugh, forget and forgive, and repair ruptured relationships.

For more details visit website at

Images courtesy of Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay


About Team FUCHSIA

This article is the collaboration effort of several members of Team FUCHSIA.