“What makes things memorable is that they are meaningful, significant, colorful.” – Joshua Foer
Vivid hues taint the sky as India ushers in the season of spring with the kaleidoscopic festival of Holi. The vibrant festival is known by a variety of names depending on which region you care to visit. From Rangpanchami in Maharastra to Lathimaar Holi in Mathura, Holi is a festival one must experience. As with every festival in India, Holi too has its fair choice of edibles and sweet meats and no one can forget the intoxicating bhang that is characteristic to this festival.
Well, skipping all the technical details, another word for holi is fun. What a way to celebrate the end of the cold weather than to smear each other with rich colours, matching nature? Well if you want to experience the vivid hues that the country has to offer, Holi is the perfect time to visit.
In the week leading up to Holi, mischievous youngsters arm themselves with water balloons and fling the aformentioned balloons on unsuspecting victims. Being on the receiving end of their mischief, one must be thankful that it is not permanent colour that is bound to stain your clothes.
The evening before the riot of colour takes over, the air is filled with the scent of charring wood as a bonfire is lit which is symbolical of the distruction of the demoness Holika by the God Vishnu. Prayers are recited, songs are sung and people dance around the bonfire as they celebrate the victory of good over evil.
By the morning of the next day, people of all ages and religions gather together in their areas as they smear each other with colour. Ideally natural colours are supposed to be used but with modern technology, synthetic colours are widely available. The sound of typical Bollywood music can be heard from every corner as the festivities begin.
Traditional sweets and intoxicating drinks coupled with a multicoloured cloud of colour can be seen for miles. By early afternoon, one turns into a variety of shades with everyone being covered – from head to toe, with brightly coloured powder and water. Invariably everyone ends up being undistinguishable, as the story of that man who tried to take the wrong child home, comes to mind. Differences, past arguments and fights are forgotten as colour is smeared on everyone – friend and foe alike.
Tips for a safe and enjoyable Holi:
– Use generous amounts of coconut oil on every part of your body and hair. Through past experiences, one realizes that walking around town with weirdly coloured body parts gets really old really fast.
– Do not shy away from using nail polish. Boys this one is for you. Nails absorb the coloured pigments while washing hands. Apply a generous coat of sheen on all 20 nails – remove it after you clean up – unless you want to walk around with multi coloured nails till they grow out.
– Play Holi in groups and with people you know. You never know when tragedy will strike if you are not careful.
– Lastly do not forget to let go and just have FUN!