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Where to Celebrate Holi in NYC

 Revelers gathered in Brooklyn last year to celebrate the Holi festival.
Revelers gathered in Brooklyn last year to celebrate the Holi festival.
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Getty Images/Eric Thayer

Holi, the Indian festival of colors, may technically fall on Thursday this week, but you have a month's worth of events to choose from if you're celebrating the start of spring with a big colored water fight in New York.

Tradition says the festival, which has its roots in Hinduism but is today celebrated by people of all faiths in India, should take place the day after the last full moon in the month of Phalguna, or early March on the Gregorian calendar. In India, businesses close and people of all classes and castes spend the holiday dancing, singing and covering each other in colorful paint and powder.

In New York, a city with a sizeable Indian population, Holi festivities are planned as late as April 30.

Sign up for one of the events below early. Tickets are selling out fast because, apparently, New Yorkers relish the idea of getting doused — as long as it's in bright spring color paints.

Wednesday, March 23

► Raga Kids: Holi Celebration for Children

Where: Pioneer Works, 159 Pioneer St., Red Hook
When: 5:30 p.m. to 6:15 p.m.

Kids of all ages will have a chance to take part in a multilingual sing-along and to learn about classical Indian instruments and the connection between Indian and American tunes. The kids’ activities will be followed by a performance art piece and a live concert for grown-ups at Pioneer Works.

Saturday, March 26

Rang Barse: New York's Exclusive Holi Cruise

Where: Pier 40, 353 West St., Hudson Square
When: 12 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

This cruise on the Hudson River is expected to draw more 500 revelers from all backgrounds with a dance performance by Bollywood Touch, two DJs, a cash bar, Indian food, and brightly colored paints. The event is 21+ and tickets cost $85.

Holi in the City

Where: Stage48, 605 West 48th St., Midtown
When: 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.

An "all-day color party," Holi in the City invites attendees ages 21 and older to dance on four floors with four different DJs. It's recommended you wear white, but don't dirty your clothes before you arrive; you'll be denied admission if you're already covered in color. General admission tickets cost $34.99.

Holi Bollywood Dance Party 

Where: Maple, 157 West 47th St., Midtown
When: starts 9:30 p.m.

Dance to DJed Bollywood hits from the '80s onwards at this Holi bash, where dry colored powder, or "gulal," will be provided. Tickets are $20.

Sunday, March 27

Red Baraat’s Festival of Colors

Where: The Bowery Ballroom, 6 Delancey St., Lower East Side
When: starts 8 p.m.

Don't expect powder to play with at this show, featuring a headliner that NPR called "the best party band in years." Red Baraat's sound merges North Indian Bhangra with elements of go-go, rock and jazz. Also making an appearance on the program: the electronic music group Madame Gandhi and the Indian classical-jazz-fusion ensemble Rajas. Admission costs $20 in advance, $25 at the door.

Saturday, April 23

► Festival of Colors: Holi NYC 

Where: Brooklyn (actual location not yet released)
When: 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.

This all-day event promises live bands, DJs, art installations, food and vibrant powder made from cornstarch and food dye that you can throw at friends (and wash out of your clothes later). In its fifth year, the event is organized by a grassroots group of native New Yorkers who say, in a press release, they "want people to break out of their bubbles and embrace each other." As they put it, "when everyone is drenched in color, it is easy to see how similar we all are." "Earlyish bird" tickets cost $22.69.

Saturday, April 30

Holi Hai

Where: 1 Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, Midtown East
When: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Organized by the dancers and cultural ambassadors of NYC Bhangra, this free event invites artist to showcase their talents in front of thousands of New Yorkers. The catch is that you have to buy your own powder: a 15-pack for a group of 5 to 8 revelers will set you back $67. Vendors will also be selling food and hand-crafted goods. Register here.