Break out the colored powder: Holi, the annual festival of colors celebrated in India and Nepal, took place Monday to mark the start of spring. In India, crowds splashed powder known as gulal, and water on each other to celebrate the holiday.
Holiday light displays are going up in neighborhoods all around the Baltimore County area. Some are simpler, some are more elaborate and some — like Phil Hoesch’s display at his parents’ Cockeysville home — are coordinated to music played over a low-frequency radio signal. Watch the video below to see Hoesch’s display in action.
The annual “Miracle on 34th Street” display draws thousands of visitors to Hampden to see the spectacular holiday lights of the 700 block of W. 34th Street. Look through images taken by Baltimore Sun photographer Kenneth K. Lam, who this year documented residents setting up their decorations ahead of the grand lighting on Nov. 30.
On March 27, Hindus across India and the Indian diaspora will observe Holi, a festival that in part marks the beginning of spring. In celebration, Hindu devotees spend the day smearing colored powder on each other’s faces and throwing colored water at friends and family, leading to Holi’s status as India’s “Festival of Colors.”
Local Holi celebrations often begin earlier, including Lathmar Holi in the northern Indian town of Barsana. Unique to the Lathmar Holi tradition is a ceremony where women use long sticks to beat men who sing provocative songs to invite their attention.
Sky lanterns, essentially small paper hot air balloons, have grown in popularity recently after being used and made in Asia for years. In some festivals, hundreds of balloons float in the air, illuminating the night sky.
That won’t be the case in Maryland. Responding to increased use of the balloons, Maryland’s fire marshal has explicitly banned sky lanterns, citing their ability to start fires.
On Jan. 6, 12 days after Christmas, Christians around the world observe Epiphany, or Three Kings Day. The holiday celebrates the visit of the Magi to the baby Jesus. Celebrated in some countries like Christmas, the day brings with it parades and pageants to mark the end of the winter holiday season.
Miles away from their families and their homes, troops in Afghanistan held Christmas celebrations at military bases and outposts. Soldiers from the U.S., France, and other countries involved in the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) shared each other’s company for a traditional Christmas meal at the Kabul International Airport on Christmas Day. German Bundeswehr soldiers, meanwhile, set up traditional Christmas markets at their military outposts in Afghanistan.
Baltimore has a monument lighting, New York has the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, and Washington has a national menorah lighting. Around the world, though, holiday traditions range from religious ceremonies (like nine consecutive masses in Manila) to contemporary takes on pagan traditions.
What’s your favorite holiday tradition? Tell us in the comments.
Baltimore residents put on stellar displays for the holiday season, from Hampden’s luminous 34th Street decorations to complex Christmas gardens. But how does a “Bawlmer Christmas” stack up against its global equivalents? We’ve rounded up some of the world’s better light displays to find out.
What does Christmas in Baltimore mean to you? Can it be viewing the wonderful light displays on 34th Street, visiting Santa for wishes of toys and puppies, amazed by intricate Christmas gardens or listening to merry tunes like “Crabs For Christmas.” In the latest retro installment from The Darkroom, we highlight Christmas trees, Santas, and decorations of years past. Take a stroll through memory lane or find tips for your holiday style. Photos featured include those from Sun photographers A. Aubrey Bodine, Lloyd Pearson, Walter McCardell, Richard Stacks, Weyman Swagger and Jed Kirschbaum.