Whilst we were busy painting the town green on St Patricks Day, over in India they were painting it a multitude of colours, celebrating Holi. This year Holi happened to fall on St Patricks day, although it is traditionally celebrated at the end of the winter season on the last full moon day of the lunar month Phalguna (February/March).
Holi is an ancient Hindu spring festival which is also known as the festival of colours and the festival of love. It primarily celebrates the start of spring but is also seen as an opportunity to renew relationships that may have gone astray and to end conflicts. It is symbolically based on the legend on Holika and is seen as a celebration of the triumph of good over evil.
The night before Holi a Holika bonfire is lit where people gather to sing and dance. The next morning is when the real action starts, creating a carnival of colour. There is no emphasis on prayer on this day, it is purely a day of fun and celebration. People play and chase each other, covering each other in dry powder or coloured water which can be dispersed from water guns or balloons filled with coloured water. For this day it’s open season and anyone is considered a fair target, male or female, young or old, rich or poor. This massive water fight tends to take place outdoors in parks or the streets. There are groups playing musical instruments and everyone is singing and dancing. By late morning everyone is awash in colour.
Of course there is also some time in all the play to enjoy some culinary delights. People offer gujiya, mathri, malpuas and other traditional delicacies which the ladies have been busy preparing in the lead up to the festival.
In the evening after a quick or perhaps a long shower, people dress up and visit their friends and family
It highlights that wherever you are in the world, people love to dress up, dance, sing and come together in a celebration. Hope you had a lovely St Patricks Weekend and a very Happy Holi to you and your family.