Dr. Steven Lance
Holi: The Festival of Colors
Imagine yourself covered with powdered colors like red, blue, purple and even green on your face, clothes and hair. Moreover, people are throwing eggs and water balloons on you, but you don’t care because you would dance on some exotic beats that you have never heard of; I know it’s seemed weird but that’s exactly the way to celebrate the Festival Holi. Holi is known as the Festival of colors in India. It is a spring festival and perhaps the happiest and most colorful religious festival of India. It is also a festival of love and unity and celebrates the triumph of good over evil. Holi happens to be my favorite festival. I particularly enjoy the color part of it. I keep a stock of every color, but blue happens to be my favorite. The other ones specially, the purple is one I hate to use on Holi. It never washes off and makes one look really bad. Holi is seen by some as the Hindu festival that is nearest in spirit to St. Valentine's Day.
In this essay I am going to take you to India, free of cost and make you experience the way I usually celebrate the Festival Holi. I will talk about why we celebrate this Festival, the benefits of playing this festival, the food and drinks we especially eat on this day and the favorite memories I have experienced while celebrating this festival. As being a Hindu, this festival means a lot to me. Other people may feel the fun part of it, but the true significance of this festival is felt by Hindus. But first, let me tell the origin of this festival. I remember my grandmother narrating me different stories about the importance of the festival. There are many legends given as the reasons for celebrating Holi. Long ago there was a king named Hiranyakashyapu, who had a son, Prahlad - a holy spirit and highly devoted to God. But Prahlad's devotion enraged Hiranyakashyapu, and he planned to kill his own son. He asked her sister Holika, who was immune to fire, to sit in fire taking Prahlad in her lap. Fortunately Prahlad, who was blessed by Lord, was saved and Holika was burnt to ashes. This gave birth to the festival of Holi. Another legend speaks of the everlasting love between God Radha and God Krishna. The legend is celebrated with great pomp and show.
The Holi Festival is full of fun and excitements. All men and women, boys and girls and children join in the sprinkling of colors. Yes, all means all of them, even foreigners too. It’s not about from where you belong and what color you have or in what religion you believe. Yes, it’s an Indian festival especially for Hindu religion but there is no restriction for anyone to participate in it. Everyone’s face would be of different color so you won’t be able to recognize the person color whether he/she is white or black and even what religion would that person belong. Let’s consider, it would look like a “Lady Gaga” family reunion doing crazy stuff with colors. See, my main point is that differences are forgotten. Bitterness does not find a place. All are friends and even old people join the fun. Till noon the singing and dancing go on with no restrictions what so ever. Buckets of color water are sprinkled on everyone. We played till we were completely wet in color. Even dignitaries like ministers including the Prime Minister and the President take part in the fun. Even popular celebrities show interest to it. The cheerfulness is over by noon. After a rich meal of special dishes people go to meet their friends and relatives. The evening bonfires are lit in some places. During the previous night people dance around the fire.
So, till now you have heard a lot about colors, but do you know how it’s made? Many colors are obtained by mixing primary colors. Artisans produce and sell many of the colors from natural sources in dry powder form. Some of the traditional natural plants are based sources of colors. Orange and red colors are made from the flowers of palash or tesu