Saturday, March 3, 2012

Holi, the Festival of Colors and Spring

Having lived in the western world for the better part of my life, and then to live in India during my late teens, this festival would always throw me off guard and out of my comfort zone. We tend to have a pretty large personal space in America whereas in India and other countries, it's not so hands off. Every year on this day, our neighborhood turned into a "free for all" water fight. So when a random person off the street drenches you with an icy bucket of rose colored water while you're unfortunate (and unaware) enough to be on your way to you're weekly math tuition class (which by the way, was cancelled without my knowledge, apparently it's an unwritten rule that you step out of your house at your own risk on this day), it's a pretty steep ramp up into the world of India's finest festivals!

This year, Holi the festival of colors, celebrating the triumph of good over evil falls on March 8th. If you ever happen to be in India on this day, you better watch out, you will most definitely be doused in colored water and powders.It's one of the most amazing and brilliant festivals celebrated amongst Indians today. The night before Holi, people light bonfires as a metaphorical representation of the defeat of evil. The next morning, children and adults alike delight in smearing vibrantly colored powder on their friends and family, and spraying one another with colored water, officially welcoming Spring and the warmer days to come.

Holi brought along with it some interesting lessons for my teenage self, it taught me first and foremost, to embrace life, to shed any inhibitions or self doubt, and no - the whole world is not looking at you, so take it easy. Holi introduced me to color in ways that I had never seen before. India is a country steeped in history, art, textiles, and culinary concoctions, none of which would be complete without the use of color in a very bold and definitive way.

Back here in USA, we've been having some pretty rough weather ourselves, with snow storms and rain (well, not so much in Northern California except last week). March is here, so lets shed our winter coats and fleece pants and into something bright to pick up our spirits. Colors have a way of influencing the way we feel, so bring on the reds, blues, greens and yellows!

Oh...and yes, the following year, I was definitely ready for the water bombs and welcomed any unexpected color attacks with my own fair share of shrieks of laughter!!

Holi is truly an electrifying day!

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