Did you know that Holi is here?
Holi is also known as “The Festival of Colors,” and what a fitting name!
It’s a time to play with colors, celebrate life, and create new beginnings.
It symbolizes the triumph of good over evil as well as the beginning of spring.
In ancient times, Ayurvedic doctors made Holi colors using therapeutic plants and medicine.
How do People Celebrate Holi?
Holi is much more of a fun event rather than a religious observation.
Holi celebrators get together during the first part of the festival, which is Holika Dahan, and bonfires are lit. The ashes from the fire are believed to bring good luck.
The next day, Holi celebrators take to the streets to dance, sing, and of course, throw colored powders and water at each other.
While Holi technically begins on March 20th, 2019. The celebrations go on throughout spring!
Why do People Celebrate Holi? The History
The Legend of Holika
According to ancient Indian mythology, Holi was initiated by a young man who refused to conform to evil.
Hiranyakashyap, also known as “the king of demons,” demanded that his subjects worship and fear him. Everyone under his rule followed suit. All but one, his son, Prahlad.
His son believed in Lord Vishnu, also known as “the supreme being.”
As a result, Hiranyakhyap made several threats and attempts to end his life.
Eventually, Hiranyakhyap ordered his own sister, Holika, to have Prahlad sit on her lap while she sits on a burning pyre. He chose her because she had a boon that protected her from the fire.
But something unexpected happened.
After Holika sat on the fire, she burnt to death, yet Prahlad survived.
This is why millions of people now light a bonfire and pray to celebrate the triumph of good over evil.
The Legend of Krishna
You might be wondering, what does that have to do with colors?
That’s where the legend of Krishna comes in.
According to Hindu beliefs, Krishna was a reincarnation of Lord Vishnu.
When Krishna was a child, he used to play pranks on the local girls.
He would drench the village girls with water and colors.
At first, the girls were offended. But they loved Krishna so much that their anger melted away.
As time went on, this frolicky colorful tradition grew in popularity as more and more people found the fun in getting messy.
The combination of these legends is what led to it becoming such a phenomenon.
How They Used to Make Colors
Before the emergence of synthetic dyes, paints, and colorings, Holi was celebrated with all-natural ingredients.
Here are some of the plants used to create the colors.
Red - Rose, crab apple tree bark, pomegranate, Tesu tree, fragrant red sandalwood, dried hibiscus flowers, and radish.
Green - Mehandi, dried leaves of Gulmohur tree, leaves of crops and herbs, spinach leaves, rhododendron leaves, and pine needles.
Blue - Indigo, Indian berries, grapes, blue hibiscus, and jacaranda flowers.
Yellow - Turmeric powder, Bael fruit, chrysanthemums, marigold, dandelions, sunflowers, marigolds, daffodils, and dahlias
Saffron - Flowers of Tesu Tree, lime with turmeric powder, and barberry.
Purple - Beetroot
Brown - Dried tea leaves and red maple trees.
Black - Certain grapes and gooseberries.
The Problem with Synthetic Colors
Unfortunately, synthetic colors have become a very popular choice due to convenience.
However, using synthetic colors can come with some nasty side effects such as:
These are just a few of the potential side effects of synthetic colors.
If possible, always try to get all-natural colors or make your own!
How to Make Your Own Natural Holi Colors
By using just a few natural ingredients at home, you can make your own colors for Holi!
To make the color red
Gather some red hibiscus flowers and dry them.
Add natural food coloring to rice flour, then blend it in a grinder.
Cut up some beets and place them in a large container of water. Boil until the liquid becomes dark red. If you want a pinker shade, simply add water.
To make the color green
Mix dried and crushed leaves of the henna plant with a similar amount of flour.
Grind green leaves such as spinach, coriander, and mint. Mix the paste with water. Strain the mixture. Boil some neem leaves to add a greener color as well as an ingredient that is good for the skin!
To make the color yellow
Holi is an incredible time of the year for human beings to get together and have fun. For a moment, sex, class, and status are generally forgotten. Everyone gets to take part in this magical celebration. While many people are opting for synthetic colors, you can celebrate Holi with some extra compassion by using all-natural colors.
Do you celebrate Holi? Why?
Tell us about it in the comments below!