As many of you know, Easter is most definitely my favorite holiday. When I was younger I loved getting dressed up in my new Easter dress and going to church, then coming home and hunting for Easter eggs with my brother. I would eventually find my big pink egg that was hidden very well, and it would have a clue as to where my Easter basket was. I would excitedly run to the spot where the clue had led me, and I would find my basket filled with the best treats like chocolates, jelly beans, a new doll, a book, etc. It was like Christmas in the spring. As children grow up, parents usually tone down the Easter egg hunt, and instead put the Easter basket or little present on the table for when you wake up. Not in my house. My parents hid Easter eggs around the house until I no longer lived there. It was glorious and a bit confusing as to why I was 18, and my brother and I were running around the living room, racing to see how many eggs we could find first. Regardless, I love that my family felt the need to give us a taste of our childhood even into our busy adult lives.
I also really loved painting, dying and decorating Easter Eggs growing up, and I have not done that in quite a few years; however, I did get to play with a lot of color this Easter. After sleeping for about three hours the night before (because it was a Saturday night in Busan with most of my friends there), Renee, Angela and I dragged ourselves onto Haeundae beach Sunday morning dressed in white. We grabbed our packets of colored powder, and as the speakers started booming Bollywood tunes, we all started throwing the pink, yellow, orange and green powder at one another.
This is not some traditional Easter celebration in South Korea, but rather a Hindu festival called Holi, put on by the Indians living here. There are a few different reasons for the Holi festival, most celebrated in India and a few other surrounding countries. The most well-known story is that there was a great king of demons, Hiranyakashipu, whose son, Prahlada, worshiped Vishnu. Hiranyakashipu wanted everyone to worship him, so the act of his son praying to another god was the ultimate betrayal. Prahlada’s father wanted him dead, so he tried to poison him, have him stampeded by elephants, eaten by snakes and even set on fire – all unsuccessful attempts at killing his son. So, Holi celebrates good overcoming evil in the world. There are also stories of love, children playing tricks, and the celebration of the rebirth of spring and crops with the dying of winter.
The day was so much fun, and I often stepped back to take it all in. I watched my friends and strangers run after each other, throwing powder and paint at one another; I saw everyone dance together, throw people in the air and share snacks and drinks with whoever was nearby. It was a festival of togetherness and love, and I think that Jesus would be proud. There was also a crowd of people watching us, probably wondering what the hell was going on, and some were even brave enough to let us touch their face with our painted fingers and give them a little color on this Easter.
So, this is how I ended up painted like an Easter Egg on Easter in South Korea, joining in on the celebration of a Hindu festival. Isn’t life crazy sometimes? Embrace the crazy. Rejoice in the weirdness of it all. Take the roads that lead to awesomeness, and you may be surprised at how small and connected the world really is.