Holi festival is one of the most colorful celebrations of Hindu calendar year. It has been mentioned even in 4th century literature and Vedic texts Purana. Spring or Vasant/Phagun is in the air and this festival is celebrated on Vasant Purnima, the full moon night. However, the celebrations begin a week earlier in Uttar Pradesh. UP has a special connect with the festival.
Now is the time to celebrate life, as winter has now gone. Read about the detailed festivities at the end of the post. Colour run is loosely based on this festival I feel which is celebrated in September in Australia. It is based in spring, has fun color based activities along with the athletic activities. Southern Hemisphere has an opposite season so spring comes when autumn hits India and elsewhere.
Why do we celebrate Holi?
We celebrate it to honor of Shri Vishnu and his devotee Prahlada. Hiranyakashyapu was a king who wanted to be immortal. He wanted everyone to worship him. However, his son Prahlada did not adhere to his wishes and continued to pray to Shri Vishnu. He asked his sister to sit in a bonfire with Prahalada in her lap in order to test his faith. Holika had a boon that fire couldn't touch her if she wore her magical shawl. When the fire was lit, due to Shri Vishnu's blessing, shawl fell on Prahlad and saved him instead of Holika. Even today, Holika fire is lit on the eve of Holi in remembrance.
What is Holi color powder made of? are they safe?
If you wonder how Holi ke rang are made? Traditionally, color were homemade in eco friendly methods. Yellow color came from turmeric powder, gram flour , green came from henna powder 0r mehendi. Dried red hibiscus flowers gave red colour powder. As time passed by and chemicals made things cheap and things became toxic. People moved away from natural Holi Gulal to chemical ones.
First, colors were temporary and then came permanent glossy ones too. Thus, many people stopped playing it altogether as they did cause allergies and skin problems. You can always make natural colours which are non toxic. Playing with organic powder is not bad at all. Especially when you have kids, natural and herbal Holi is always better. Herbal gulal is very easy to make contrary to what you think. Although it comes at a price when bought as organic pack commercially, you can make it very fast too. Read here.
- Corn flour/ rice flour/ tapioca starch
- Food colors
How to make colours at home?
- 1. You may use corn flour/rice flour/tapioca starch as a base to make homemade colour powder recipe
2. Add food color to the rice flour/corn flour/tapioca flour 3. You will need to press from the back of the spoon to mix the colors. 4. Mix it with a spoon, add more color until you get the desired intensity. Move this mix in a metal plate/bowl to a warm oven(not running) for 15-20 minutes. 5. Pass the mix through a sieve. Store in an air tight container
Have a colorful Holi everyone!
What do the colours represent?
We play with dry Gulal and also play with water based colours (pichkari wali). Usually colors come in basic colors. However, with time we have seen all different colors along with metallic silver, golden etc. Colour red represents love and fertility. Yellow represents immunity, Blue represents Shri Krishna. Green represents new beginnings.
How do we celebrate Holi in Uttar Pradesh?
We celebrate this festival across the country especially in North India. It is a divine celebration across Uttar Pradesh as it is associated with Shri Krishna and his leelas.Mathura Braj Barsana and Vrindavan have a special bond with the festival. We celebrate it for many days. It begins in Barsana with laddumaar Holi where people throw yellow Boondi on each other on Falgun Shukla Ashtami.
This is followed by Lathmar holi is celebrated in Barsana on Navmi next day, Radha rani's village where women hit men with sticks who want to apply color to them. This is celebrated on Dashami in Nandgaon. Phoolon wali Holi is celebrated on Ekadashi(11th day) before full moon night. Chhadi mar Holi at Gokul where Shri Krishna stayed as a child. This is a milder version of Latthmar Holi.
In Mathura, it is played for 4 days starting from 11th day. Women sing songs during Holi Dola in afternoon. A giant procession is organized known as Chaturvedi samaj ka dola. Holika Dahan happens on the eve of Holi also known as Choti Holi. Dhulendi or Rang panchami is associated with the legend of Shri Krishna and Radha Rani playing with colors.
Other important celebrations are Dau ji ka Huranga 30 km from Mathura and Charkula dance at Mukhrai which is a circular celebration holding lamps 4-5 storied. A sight to watch and behold!
What are the special sweets recipes in India?
It is also a time to gorge on sweets and snacks. Special nut based cool milk is served to all the revellers. Malpue,dahi bhalle,pede,gujiya, gulab jamun, samose refill your energy.
- Karanji/ vegan gujiya /Indian empanadas
thandai : nut milk cooler
dahi bade: veg donuts dipped in curd and chutney
- Mathura peda
Holi color DIY recipe
- ¼ cup corn flour/rice flour/tapioca starch
- ½-1 teaspoon Food colors as per your choice
- Add food color to the rice flour/corn flour/tapioca flour
- Mix it with a spoon,add more color until you get the desired intensity
- Move this mix in a metal plate/bowl to a warm oven(not running) for 15-20 minutes
- Pass the mix through a sieve
- Store in an air tight container