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Holi – A Coloured Occasion in India

Posted on August 26, 2011 | FestivalsNo Comment

Isn’t it a wonderful custom of celebrating with colors? With greens and blues and pinks donning our body and with only fun, love and warmth to share, it is no wonder that Indians look forward to this festival of colors Holi. Mainly celebrated in India, this spring celebration is also celebrated in Nepal, Sri Lanka, Trinidad, Fiji, Mauritius, Guyana, Malaysia and many other countries.

Also known as Dhuli Vandan in Sanskrit, this is celebrated to mark the culmination of winter in India and is followed by the next day Rangapanchami which is the festival of colors. Taking its roots from the legendary story of the demoness Holika burning in a pyre holding Prahlada an Indian legendary hero who was the son of the demon Hiranyakashipu. HIranyakashipu wanted to kill Prahlad and made him sit on a pyre with Holika his sister who had a boon of not dying. However Prahlad’s prayers were answered and he escaped and Holika got burnt. Thus Holi is celebrated by burning a pyre.

Holi drink ThandaiIt is unique to see Holi being celebrated in various ways. In India at Barsana, Holi is celebrated with women beating men with sticks to the shouts of Glory be to Lord Krishna. In rest of India, Holi is an occasion of fun, gaiety and interexchange of greetings, sweets and gifts. The traditional Abhir or colored powder is used as a form of celebration. Holi is celebrated as the Dol Jatra in Bengal where everyone sings and dances dressed in white or saffron colored clothes. The tradition of pulling a chariot during Holi in Jagannath temple in Puri in Orissa in India is famous. Puran Poli is a major delicacy that is prepared during Holi in Western India. This is also the time when the unique mixture of almonds, rose petals and pistachios is prepared and is drunk as Thandai.

Holi is mainly celebrated and  spreads love and warmth. The entire country goes into a frenzy of celebrations and the festive mood is hard to resist. Marking the arrival of spring, people rejoice with colors and spray water at each other and dance to the beat of drums and the rhythm of typically sung music.  Even the fields seem to welcome the festival as the crops dance to the tune of the atmosphere during Holi.

These days with environmental issues cropping up, Holi is celebrated with vegetable dyes such that the toxic value is reduced and the awareness is more about not using chemical dyes. The lead oxide and the aluminum bromide content in the colors cause eye and skin allergy and sometimes blindness too.

Holi colors

Similarly as bonfires was linked to deforestation they started being lit out of waste material to save the environment. Awareness drives have been made to restrict wastage of water during this festival.

Holi is a festival which is regarded as a time when enmity, negativity and grudges are forgotten also has resulted in the public being environmentally alert. The secular feeling and the rejoicement completes the uniqueness of this colored occasion Holi.

Holi festival

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