The Festival of Colours – Holi – is the day following ‘Holika’ – the bonfire night celebrating the victory of Good over Evil.
Holi also marks the advent of Spring. It is a fun festival where colour ‘gulaal’ is smeared on everyone you see whether you know them or not. It’s the day all barriers are let down and all you see are the beautiful colours being sprayed or smeared all around.
I have only experienced Holi once in India and it was definitely a crazy day that I have great memories of.
One wears white on Holi as a blank canvas for all the colours to come during the day. Water guns, buckets, water balloons, and even dry powder are sprayed and dropped on people. If you’re walking on the streets, you’re sure to have a bucket of coloured water chucked on you or water balloons thrown at you. There are parties and parties galore starting very early in the day going through the day in to the evening, many are even pool parties…
Holi is the one day where everyone is merry celebrating, and the one day that everyone let’s go of their inhibitions, discriminations & barriers, and ‘play’ Holi with anyone that they encounter.
Holi signifies many things starting from the scriptures with religious meaning through to social significances and customs we follow today. These help people follow good conduct and virtues in their lives primarily the virtues of being truthful and honest which leads to the victory of good over evil. Holi brings society together and strengthen the secular fabric of our country. For, the festival is celebrated by non-Hindus also as everybody like to be a part of such a colourful and joyous festival. (www.holifestival.org)
There is also a very subtle romantic aura that surrounds this festival, which leads back to the story of Radha & Krishna. It is believed that Lord Krishna was sad over his dark complexion and thought he would never have the love of the fair Radha. One day, his mother Yashoda playfully suggested that he can smear colour on Radha’s face and change her complexion to any colour he wanted. Intrigued by this, Krishna proceeded to do so and thus, introduced the festival of colours.
In Los Angeles, we celebrate Holi at the beaches or the parks, where the whole community gets together and enjoys the colourful mahem. In London, I have only experienced it in a milder form at the temples. I have some work cut out for me so that the boys get to experience the madness AND the beauty of Holi next year!
Happy Holi my lovely people. Stay happy, stay colourful!