This festival of colors brings a tinge of happiness when people think the celebration of Holi.
Growing up I played Holi a handful of times. Once when I was ten and we threw balloons and glasses full of water on passers by from the terrace of a cousin’s home. Once in Bhopal at age 11, when my cousin applied so much silver paint on me that it took my mom 2+ hours of rubbing before all the colors came off!
Then twice during college when my friends and I threw colors and eggs on each other. And I pretended to get drunk on Bhang Lassi and scared the living daylights out of my friends who had never seen a person high!
You find that people either love this festival or hate it, depending on how their childhood memories are with the celebration. If they were roughhoused with, they usually prefer to not play growing up either. Owing to my life as an immigrant I didn’t have many opportunities to be scarred!
Significance of Holi in North Indian Culture
Holi in Nothern India is celebrated to mark the advent of spring with the flowers beginning to bloom. The many colors in the air reflect the bloom around you.
The meaning of Holi has it’s origins in two stories. And both carry a lot of meaning for most Hindu families, specially to strengthen the bond between couples. One is of the love of Radhna Krishna, whose love is eternal and renowned for being full of naughtiness. The other is the story of Prahlad whose demon father time and again forced him to renounce his love for God Vishnu and pray to him as God.
Celebrating Holi in My Home
This festival of love actually became a tradition after marriage as my husband and I religiously celebrate. This is perhaps one of the most no fuss celebrations as all you need is colors.
Kids like all things, added so much more meaning to our celebrations.
I remember vividly the first times my son and daughter applied color to my face. It was a feeling like no other!
Since my son turned 2, every year our celebrations have only gotten grander and bigger with more of our friends being included as our family grew from two to four. The festival has only grown in splendor, laughter and grandeur.
I often have a potluck party at my home with my friends and we apply color to each other. If possible, we also serve the special drink called thandai (the non intoxicating version). The kids specially those who are not maybe North Indian get a kick out learning about this festival. Some also get scared but the results are always hilarious!
The night before Holi is Holika Dahan, where we are supposed to light the bon fire. It is hard to do that here in USA but in a few years, I hope to celebrate this aspect with a firepit.
Since the past three years we have been going to the local temple to celebrate with friends as well. We dance on Indian film music and enjoy the revelry. Throwing and applying colors on strangers who, on this day, treat us like their best friends.
Life Lessons Holi Teaches In A Multicultural Environment
Holi is celebrated around the world, not just on this day but all year round as “Color Run”. There are many reasons this beloved festival has grown on the people of the world. It is wonderful how most festivals provide unique opportunities to teach kids about life.
It is celebrated today not just by North Indian Hindus but by everyone who enjoys celebrating life in all it’s colorful glory!
GOODNESS AND FAITH ARE PARAMOUNT
I read the story of Prahlad every year. We watch videos and make sure the kids understand what both of these mean in today’s lives. The story might be mythological but when explained in today’s context, kids learn about how often bad influences affect us and we need to have faith in our own principals to carry us through.
EVERYONE IS EQUAL
I make sure to explain to my kids that the meaning of Holi is to show that once color is applied everyone is the same. The skin color of all becomes the same and we all are equal in all manners. Once you have children, specially this significance evolves also to one of acceptance and love.
The Holi festival as I mentioned has evolved. There was a time when people used to get really dirty throwing mud and eggs or worse but with time with repeated dos and don’ts discussed today everyone who celebrates does so in an environmentally healthy way.
This is a great time to teach kids about why using organic colors is important.
BE KIND TO ANIMALS
I tell them how Holi used to be celebrated where many people would hurt animals by applying color to them or throwing them in water. How important it is to not do the same and to always, always think of the consequences of your festivities on animals.
NO MEANS NO
Many people, specially in India, choose to remain locked indoors for everyone knows if you go out you are bound to end up with color on your face or wet clothes!
If someone doesn’t like to celebrate, you should not put color on them. This applies to many other aspects of life where someone might not want to indulge in something they enjoy. An important lesson in today’s world.
STRANGERS AREN’T ALL SCARY
The best part about Holi is this festival is everyone plays it with equal enthusiasm. Even if you go to the a place where it is celebrated not knowing anyone, you are greeted like a friend and get colored just as if people already knew you. Your faith in humanity gets restored with that much positive vibes going around.
It is a wonderful time to step out of your comfort zone. Under the watchful eyes of parents, many kids open up to having fun with people they have just met.
GETTING MESSY IS FUN
My kids usually hate getting their hands dirty. They have gotten so used to using wipes that often things are icky. This day allows kids today, in the spin and span, sanitized environments to let lose and get messy. It teaches them it is okay to get dirty. This is the only festival where the dirtier you are is reciprocal to the amount of fun you have had.
After all, life is very messy and it is important to know when to enjoy the it and when to purge the mess!
SELF CARE IS IMPORTANT
There is a great amount of prep that goes into preparing to play Holi. . Wear sunglasses and shut your eyes whenever someone is applying color on you. Oiling your hair or Wear old full sleeved and full length clothing to give your skin maximum protection from the colors.
Even when indulging in foods and the sweet milk drink, it is important to use moderation in everything you do.
EVERY LOVING RELATIONSHIP HAS ROOM FOR LAUGHTER
In Holi when you play pranks on your loved ones and friends, it is a great way to teach kids how to not take themselves and those they care about seriously. How not to get offended on silly little jokes and that there is always room for naughtiness and laughter in a loving relationship.
What is your Holi celebration like? Do you have a temple near you that celebrates? Are you going to celebrate with your kids this year? Are you going to share the …