It looks like some kind of artwork, but this is the chromatic outcome of Color Chartres, the second annual ‘color run’ staged in the French town of Chartres. Around 800 students from 17 local institutions took part in the 5km run that came to a vivid end at the Place des Épars in the centre of the town.
Every kilometer of the course corresponded to a ‘color zone’ where volunteers launch natural cornstarch base powder over the runners. The aim of the run is not to cross the finish line first, but to simply delight in the abandonment of the fun event.
It would seem obvious that the color run is inspired by Holi, an ancient Hindu spring festival. Otherwise known as the Festival of Colors, it’s celebrated across India and Nepal each year around the end of February or early March.
It’s a joyful festival that involves much wild throwing of coloured powder and water. Traditionally considered to be a time to renew relationships, forgive grievances, and forget old feuds, Holi is observed by many millions of people, who after enjoying the rather messy celebration of color, typically clean up to meet family and friends for food and reunions.
In recent years the festival of colors has spread beyond its Hindu base to much of South East Asia. It continues to grow in popularity across the non-hindu world.
See the Place des Épars using Google street view, though without the colors its rather unremarkable.
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