“Let me get this straight,” my friend said skeptically into the phone. “You live in Korea, but this weekend you’re celebrating an Irish holiday and going to an Indian festival?” Well, when she put it like that I realized it did sound a little funny…
The homogeneity of Korea doesn’t usually lend itself to too many multicultural celebrations, but the expat community here does their best to keep the spirit of their homeland traditions alive. And even when it’s not necessarily my own heritage, I’m always down for a party!
Last weekend a group of us went to Busan to join the festivities at the local Irish pub. We wore green, painted our faces, peeled some paper shamrock decorations off the wall and stuck them to our heads, and celebrated in true Irish fashion—namely, drinking and being loud.
At one point I was serenaded by this lovely Irish lad, who proceeded to strip and offer out lap dances, whilst announcing that any STIs he had definitely weren’t contagious.
I was almost flattered, but I’m fairly sure he attempted to woo anything with two legs, that night.
After dancing the night away we took about a four hour nap, and found ourselves squinting in the morning light, shuffling through the sand at Haeundae beach, beers in one hand and colored powder in the other—it was time for Holi Hai!
Holi Hai is an Indian celebration that signifies the arrival of spring. The Indian expat community does a fantastic job of organizing this event in Korea each year and a group of hundreds of people gather on the beach to eat samosas and douse each other in colorful hues of paint. Although spring had been hiding behind rainclouds and cold winds for weeks prior, she finally decided to make her appearance on Sunday morning. The sun shined down on us and temperatures warmed; we couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day to party on the beach!
We threw colored powder at each other’s faces and danced to the DJ.
People with a death wish were thrown in the air.
We built a humid pyramid.
We laid in the sand and took stereotypical yet totally awesome photos. (What you don’t see is the boys bombing us with paint while we’re down).
But then the boys did it, too, and the girls got their revenge.
Not to be missed was also this fantastic Korean-ism on the sidewalk of Haeundae Beach. We waited patiently for a photo op on the swing, but that little girl was not giving up her man.
And after working up a huge appetite we devoured massive quantities of delicious Indian food.
I won’t post the pictures of all of us covered in paint and passed out on the train home…
But what an amazing weekend it was. 🙂