by Himanshu Shukla and Divya Badri
Holi is a festival of spreading love. It usually takes place during the month of “Phalguna”. This is a month in the Hindu calendar and usually falls around February or March. During this festival, people meet and greet each other by gently applying color. The traditional colour is called Gulal, and applied on each other’s face during Holi.
What is the Story behind Holi?
The festival of Holi goes back to the story of Lord Krishna; venerated all over India mainly in “Sanatan Dharma” (also known as Hinduism)
Why Do People Play With Colors?
Legend has it that when Krishna was a baby, he was attacked by his power-hungry maternal uncle. He survived the attacks as a baby but this resulted in the colour of his skin turning blue. Pre-teen Krishna had a very good friend, a girl named Radha. He was worried whether Radha and her friends liked him or not, due to the colour of his skin being so different. So, he went to his mother and asked for advice. His mother casually advised him to playfully put color on Radha, so that no one could differentiate between his and others’ skin colors. The plan worked and the friends played a colourful Holi happily!
Such a beautiful idea! Imagine a world full of people who look Green, Blue, Red or Yellow or Purple. A simple idea, given by Krishna’s mother to him, remains valid. Once you playfully colour another in vibrant Holi colours, you become unrecognisable. Differences based on class, caste, colour, religion, creed, sect, disappear. On Holi, everyone plays together inclusively. It demonstrates –
how playing with a little coloured powder and some water during Holi, could make one very happy!
Watch our Video on Holi:
Preparation for Holi Celebration
Holi preparations begin at home, one or two weeks in advance. All start making papad and sweets and many more dishes depending upon famous dishes in that region. People clean their homes and all family members come together to celebrate this happy festival.
Playing the game
On the morning of Holi, once the delicacies are ready, people visit each other. They greet by applying colors on each other’s faces and hugging. One welcomes guests with homemade sweets and dishes. Celebrators gather together in open spaces and dance to music to their heart’s content. The atmosphere is that of togetherness, positivity, and equality. You wear old clothes while playing Holi. They will be later reused for cleaning as mops or dusting towels. Isn’t that a sustainable way of celebration?! This concept of reuse/reduce have been practiced as tradition by Indians over generations.
Gulal and other Holi colours
Remember we spoke of Gulal, the colour? Earlier, Holi colors were made at home with materials available at home. With the industrial revolution in India, the manufacturing of artificial Holi colors came into practice and the traditional gulal took a back seat. Here is how, you can bring back organic colours into your holi celebrations.
Advice for Holi: How can Organic Holi Colors Be Made At Home?
Organic Holi colors are not only safe for the skin but also sustainable for the environment. Before running off to play Holi, make it a point to apply some coconut or sunflower oil all over your body. This will help you get rid of the coloured marks later. You can make Gulal (powdered color) by using any flour present in your home (wheat/non-wheat) and mixing in the right amount of organic colouring. Different organic colors made at home from vegetables and flowers are coming back in use. For example, boiling roses in water give red, green is possible from spinach and yellow from other flowers. These colors mixed with different flours and dried give you the organic Holi colours.
When celebrating Holi, you wish each other “HAPPY HOLI”. Diversity and inclusion as some of their biggest challenges in some societies. Cultural differences could make it hard for some to understand how inclusivity and gender equality are achieved, even celebrated in India. This blog on Holi focusses on the positives of an old Indian tradition, that has been coming down since generations, and now finding its way into different corners of the planet.
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