Holi is the festival of colors. The color of harmony that one sees in a community coming together to celebrate a festival from another culture. The color of resilient Mother Nature that brings us blooms and blossoms in the Spring. The color of fun and frolic as various ages, social stature and stages of life come together and spend a Sunday morning together.
My favourite festival for always has been Holi. I was told various mythological tales by my grandmothers. And the idea of fire getting rid of the evil and color being used to celebrate the victory of the good was made very clear every year as the festival approached.
On the first night of Holi – known as Holika Dahan, we got together as a community and lit a bonfire. The idea of community was instilled early on as us neighbourhood children went from house to house and gathered fruits and sugar crystals to offer to everyone that came to the bonfire later in the evening. We helped build the bonfire, all gathering a few sticks and dried branches here and there to make one large fire.
The next morning was community color play. My brother and me joined forces to make as many water balloons as we could. The only day of the year that we woke up without the Mommy alarm and didn’t argue about inane stuff with each other. The color and water fights began between the children and then the adults joined in. There was no barrier of age. Everyone was fair game to be splattered.
I realize now that the excitement for me was as much about getting messy as it was about the feeling of being part of something bigger. Being part of a community. The Holi festival is in its third year in our local Decatur, Ga community. Hopefully everyone that attends gets the feeling behind this festival. That of community. Of coming together and having a good time while being supportive of each other. The colorful happy faces and the memorable photos are just the cherry on top. Or the saffron threads in the “thandai”.