Holi — More than just a colorful mess
As we bid farewell to the winter and prepare to welcome spring, Indians all around the world are gearing to smear each other’s faces with colorful powder. Yes, it is Holi — a festival that is most popular for the tradition of playing with colors, for me symbolizes the win of good over evil.
This colorful festival is celebrated in India for two days. The night before Holi, is Holika Dahan (the burning of Holika, a demon, by God Vishnu). Friends and family members gather around a bonfire to burn the evil of darkness and celebrate the good with the light. The next day is the Rangwali Holi (colorful Holi) where no one is a stranger and everyone is showering colors on each other.
Fun fact: It was believed that Lord Krishna had first smeared a colorful powder on the face of his beloved Radha initiating a practice that has become an essence of Indian culture. What started, perhaps as an innocent act of love, is now a playful, colorful, popular and one of most wondrous festivals of India.
For me, it is the most wondrous festival because Holi has the least religious connotation. It is celebrated with joy and happiness by every person, irrespective of their religion, caste, class, race, age and gender.
It truly unifies the spirit of Indian cultures and just like different colors that blend to create a rich canvas, people blend in to celebrate love and diversity.
Children innocently run on the street laughing and sprinkling colored water, elderly people clad in white clothes covered predominantly in pink color (Gulal) wish each other, and young men and women taking advantage of this opportunity and express their love in the open, Holi is indeed a colorful expression of human emotions.
This year I can’t help but ask myself — what kind of a world we are shaping for the future? We have been handed down this great culture of fusion, of diversification, and of uniqueness. What are we going to be leaving for our children? A world that is afraid of anything different? A world that sees everything outside of them as evil? A world that asks you to judge every stranger? A world that shuts its door to those in need? A world that has lost the capacity to judge what is evil and what is good?
My biggest ask to everyone — This holi, let’s celebrate by burning the evil in us and welcome the divergence. Lets fill our hearts with love and compassion, let’s embrace all so there is no stranger left, let’s cherish every relationship with utmost sincerity and let’s glorify life. Let us leave behind a world that our offsprings will be proud of, like I am. Happy Holi.