With the end of the winter’s cold spell arrives Spring bringing with it the most colorful, joyous and one of my favorite festivals-Holi. It is considered one of India’s most revered and recognized festivals and is celebrated in almost every part of the country.
Holi, sometimes referred to as “festival of colors” or “festival of love” is an ancient Hindu religious festival that is not only celebrated in India but has also become popular with non-Hindus in many parts of South Asia, as well as people of other communities outside Asia. Every year here in Melbourne-Australia, a fest is organized around Holi usually lasting for two days. The event is full of colors, dance, music, food and lots of fun.
Holi signifies the victory of good over evil and happiness for all. It also focuses on the arrival of spring and comes in the form of a festive day to meet family and friends, play and laughs, forget and forgive and spread cheer.
The festival is celebrated over two days -The first day is known as Holika Dahan or Chhoti Holi and the second day is Rangwali Holi. On the eve of Holi large pyres are lit and people gather around them. They often throw wood, dried leaves and twigs into the bonfire and pray that their internal devils are destroyed with the fire. The next morning is a free-for-all carnival of colors, where people play, chase and color each other with dry powder and colored water, with some carrying water guns and colored water-filled balloons. People nibble on Gujiya, a popular Indian sweet made from Mawa and dried fruit-filled in a ghee fried dumpling. Bhang Lassi is another refreshing drink and is sold in shops in parts of North India during the festival.
As a child, I never missed celebrating Holi. Every year on Holi, I got up early and engaged my whole family in filling up colored water balloons for me. Holi was all about prepping up with colours, water balloons and water guns. Sometimes, it felt as though we were going for a battle but the only difference being that this was a fight with splashes of colors and water-filled balloons were flung from rooftops.
After playing Holi for a few hours, we ate lunch which usually consisted of a kadi (a thick gram flour curry made with vegetable fritters), mixed vegetables, rice, roti and kheer (rice pudding). Later in the evening, after cleaning up and getting sober, all my family and friends spent some quality time together. The memories of Holi bring a smile to my face.
In the end, Holi is the day to express love and affection with the vibrancy of colors. It is time to let go of any differences and express happiness. Let this Holi burn away any negativity and bring positive spirit and joy through colors.
By Archita Baweja