Holi is an ancient Hindu religious festival which has become popular with non-Hindus in many parts of South Asia, as well as people of other communities outside Asia. In addition to India and Nepal, the festival is celebrated by Indian subcontinent diaspora in countries such as Jamaica, Suriname, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, South Africa, Malaysia, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Mauritius, and Fiji.] In recent years the festival has spread to parts of Europe and North America as a spring celebration of love, frolic, and colours.
Holi is the Festival of Love and also known as the Festival of Colors. The origins of Holi lie in ancient Hindu traditions where Holi was celebrated to mark the arrival of spring. Holi is also related to the legend of Holiya, the evil sister of demon king Hiranyakashipu, who tried to burn Hiranyakashipu’s son Prahlada. Prahlada had maintained faith in god (Vishnu), while Hiranyakashipu contended that he was god. Wearing a cloak that guarded her from fire, Holika lured Prahlada into a fire but the cloak that was guarding Holiya flew off her and protected Prahlada instead. Since then, on the eve of Holi, a bonfire named Holiya is lit to signify the triumph of good over evil and celebrate it. Holi also celebrates knowledge over ignorance, and love over hate.
Central to most Holi festivals are bright colors that are often thrown, sprayed or painted on. For this reason Holi is often refer to as the Festival of Colors.Traditionally colors were achieved through dyes that were made from turmeric, sandalwood, flower an leaf extracts, and beetroots. Sadly, in recent times synthetic color dyes are often used during Holi festivals. These dyes often use unhealthy ingredients or cause allergic reactions. People often recommend rubbing coconut oil into and onto your skin to prevent commercial dyes from absorbing.
If you attend a Holi celebration in India and Nepal, you may encounter bhang, a tea made from cannabis leaves. It is frequently served at some Holi celebrations there. Bhang also contains milk, butter and spicies (cinnamon or nutmeg)
Holi is the day to express love with colors. It is a time to show affection. All the colors that are on you are of love. – Anonymous
You don’t have to follow the Hindu religion to enjoy Holi. Festivals are held across cities in the United States, especially where there is a large Hindu or Yoga community and all sorts of people attend. Festivals often includes yoga demonstrations, Bollywood music, color dye toss, and always all sorts of Indian food.
No festival in your area? Try watching the Bollywood movie Mohabbatein (2000). It includes scenes where a song called Soni Soni is played during a holi festival celebration in India. Indian movies are often like Western musicals so it will probably appeal to that audience. If those sorts of movies don’t appeal to you, you can cheet up the house by decorating with colorful ribbons and adornments to recognize the holi festival. Marigold flowers are traditionally hung over balconies, railings and staircases. Sofa cushions are often covered with bold, bright colors. Walls are traditionally covered with colorful fabric patchwork. You can try eating at an Indian restaurant on this day to enjoy some Holi specialty sweet dishes such as shakarpara (sweet crispy bread), gujjias (sweet fried dumplings), kheer (rice pudding) and malpua (pancakes). Holi is about goodness, love and color, so indulge and enjoy.