Play Holi – in a safe way


2007_holi.jpgToday is Holi, the Indian festival of colours. I am sure all our Indian friends and family members are today busy colouring one another up. Wish all of you a highly fun-filled and happy Holi. We celebrated Holi in a different way: Maitreyee and Sohini applied colours to each other, sat in front of the PC and took a picture of themselves with the webcam and sent it to me! That’s the picture on the left. Do you notice the colours in their eyes? That’s because I’m visiting ‘home’ next weekend!!

We miss the festivity of the event, the spirit of bonhomie and brotherhood. That’s something to be cherished and nurtured. But I think we’re happy to be away from using the unhealthy and environmentally damaging chemicals used in the gulal and the colours, and from the unruly behaviour you sometimes have to witness or bear in the guise of being friendly and frolicking. And, sometimes I wonder if it is not a huge waste of water given the scarcity we face in many parts of India.

For those interested, here’s a little background information about Holi, quoting from Wikipedia:

“Holi (Hindi) or Phagwah (Bhojpuri) is an annual and popular Hindu spring festival. It takes place over two days in the later part of February or early March… It is also called the Festival of Colours. In West Bengal, it is known as Dolyatra (Doljatra) or Boshonto Utshob (’spring festival’). On the first day, a bonfire is lit at night to signify burning Holika. On the second day, known as Dhulandi, people go around until afternoon throwing coloured powder and water at each other. A special drink called thandai is prepared, sometimes containing bhang (Cannabis sativa). People invite each other to their houses for feasts and celebrations later in the evening…

“Although a Hindu celebration, other religions in India celebrate it as well. In fact, some of the best Holi celebrations are said to happen in Punjab, where Hindus and Sikhs celebrate together. This celebration in Punjab typically involves dholis and other musical instruments as kids and adults celebrate…

“In this festival main emphasis is laid on the burning of Holika or lighting of Holi. The origin of the traditional lighting of Holi is attributed by some to the burning of demonesses like Holika, Holaka and Putana who troubled little children or to the burning of Madan according to others…”

You can read more on Wikipedia (opens in new window)

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