Rang panchmi, Madhya Pradesh (March 2006)

Rang panchmi (“color fifth”) occurs on the fifth lunar day of the month of chet. Holi occurs on the first day of that month and is celebrated in villages (see “rural Madhya Pradesh, holi”). In small towns the main celebration occurs on panchmi. In the event documented here, a procession headed by a water tank with high pressure jet, two ceremonial cannons (firing paper), and a camel – organized by Brijesh Bohra – circumambulated the town dousing everyone on the street, and anyone visible in neighboring houses, with colored water. Bhang and alcohol intensify the heightened sensations of this exuberant communitas.