Holi – The Festival of Colors
By: Maggie Barlow
One of this week’s blog post is a cultural piece on the Holi festival, which is a color festival in India. Holi is a Hindu spring festival celebrated in India and Nepal, also known as the “festival of colours” or the “festival of love.” The festival signifies the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring, and end of winter. However, for many it is a chance to meet others, play and laugh, forget and forgive, and repair broken relationships.
During this festival, colored powder is thrown at each other, regardless of whether you are friends or strangers, allowing people to be brought together and repair anything broken, this deep symbolic meaning that really speaks to me. These people gather once a year to show that good beats out evil, and I think that message is an important one to remember. On the eve of Holi, typically at or after sunset, the pyre is lit, signifying Holika Dahan. The ritual symbolizes the victory of good over evil, and people gather around the fire to sing and dance.
This festival brings people together from all over the continent, and although it has some religious undertones, if you are willing to love and show love, then you are welcomed into this beautiful festival, regardless of any religious intent. The festival lasts for seven days and contains centuries worth of historical and religious significance. Its uniqueness year in and year out makes Holi a one of a kind holiday.
Although this is a beautiful event, there are some negative sides to it, one being that the bonfire contributes to the deforestation of their area, which, as a planet, we cannot afford. Another problem is the flammability of this whole event. Chances of forest fires and injuries to the people celebrating means that there is a high level of danger during the event. Although they have increased their safety and decreased the amount of danger, it can still be an issue.
Now I’m sure many of you have heard of an event that is held around our country called “The Color Run.” During this 5k run, people pass through clouds of colored powder as they race towards the finish line. This event took inspiration from Holi, and although it is downplaying the sacredness of the event, it’s fun and I recommend everyone do the color run at least once.
The Holi Festival is an annual event that personifies love and respect for each other. I hope one day that I am able to visit this festival and see the beautiful ceremony in person. Until then, I will continue to look at photos and keep up with this year’s event, which started on March 13th.