Click pics to enlarge! The photos I sourced for this post are simply beautiful, so please note that you can click on them to enlarge.
For tomorrow's class, I have made hands-outs as a reading exercise about the festival with information that I sourced from a website called The Society of Confluence of Festivals in India. Please see links to all resource links below.
It really does sound like a beautiful celebration and I read on the site that ' The colorful festival of Holi is celebrated on Phalgun Purnima which comes in February end or early March. Holi festival has an ancient origin and celebrates the triumph of 'good' over 'bad'. The colorful festival bridges the social gap and renew sweet relationships. On this day, people hug and wish each other 'Happy Holi'.
History of Holi
On wiki they write that
'It is an ancient Hindu religious festival which has become popular with non-Hindus in many parts of South Asia, as well as people of other communities.
It is primarily observed in India, Nepal and other regions of the world with significant populations of majority Hindus. The festival has, in recent times, spread in parts of Europe and North America as a spring celebration of love, frolic and colours.'
It is said that Holi existed several centuries before Christ. However, the meaning of the festival is believed to have changed over the years. Earlier it was a special rite performed by married women for the happiness and well-being of their families and the full moon (Raka) was worshiped.
Holi celebration begins with lighting up of bonfire on the Holi eve. Numerous legends & stories associated with Holi celebration makes the festival more exuberant and vivid.
People rub 'gulal' and 'abeer' on each others' faces and saying, "bura na maano Holi hai" suggesting that all should be of good cheer. Holi also provides an opportunity to send blessings and love to dear ones wrapped in a special Holi gift.
Izha writes on his blog about the festival that, 'As is traditional in Holi, the collected gulai, which are powdered colours, are blown through pistons made from bamboo shoots or similar materials. The spray is directed at persons nearby, and act as an ancient and natural form of confetti. It is an offer or a reiteration of friendship to sprinkle the colours upon one another. No one is allowed to remain untouched by these fantastic hues, as all are drenched within the first fall of night.'
There is a beautiful description of what the various colours mean. He writes:
'As the festival uses these colours for specific symbolism within silks, sashes, attire, and other forms, it is also used as gulai. The following are explanations given for primary colours used for the powders:
Red - This will be taken from the rose and amaranth flower petals. It is symbolic of the 'Living Flame'
Green - This will be taken from the stems of flowers, and the nectar of a few as well. Loostrife, aloe, and sage will be the primary flora harvested. It is symbolic of life and vitality, and the effects are a rejuvenating sort of stimulation.
Yellow - This gulai is taken from the flower Honeysuckle. It is symbolic of the spring's sun and warmth.
Blue - Taken from the blossoms of lungwort and lupine, it is symbolic of the spring's cleansing rain.
White - The powders for white are extracted from the pasqueflower, poppy, mull and yucca blossoms. Symbolic of purity and divine love.'
I think that is wonderful that this festival is growing in popularity around the world and I really look forward to going to one. See link below to where and when they are now being celebrated throughout the world.
There is one in London so if you are in town on the 2nd of August 2014 this looks like the place to be at http://www.holione.com/en/events/london.html
As I write this blog post the words of Cindy Lauper's song come to me from her song True Colours.
Your true colours
True Colours are beautiful
Like a Rainbow
In world that can sometimes be dark, how wonderful that people around the world can come together at this festival of colours and celebrate the possibility of all us being able to show our true colours of love and friendship and the potential joys and victories in making life happier and fairer for all.
Thanks so much Gowthami for reminding me about this beautiful celebration of our common humanity and wish you and everyone around the world a Happy Holi!
For more pics visit National Geographic online at:
To find our more about the Holi Festival visit http://www.holifestival.org/holi-festival.html
A blog on the festival at http://astra.yak.net/Projects/Aether/Varati/holi.html
Where to join celebrations around the world at http://www.holifestival.org/holi-around-the-world.html
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