By Sheyna Haisman-Holmes
Happy Holi! Today, March 8th is the main celebration of this holiday, beginning on the 7th on the Full Moon. Holi is a huge Hindu celebration and the festival of colors. Gulal (colored powders) are smeared on faces and thrown around with dancing and singing. Water balloons, squirt guns and colored waters are flung around and special sweets are prepared. This celebration marks the victory of good over evil in the coming of spring, which is correlated to Diwali, which was the celebration of good over evil during the decent into winter in October.
Holi marks the end of winter and beginning of spring, although the spring equinox doesn’t come until March 20th. The Full Moon calls in this festival and the start of spring, while the New Moon this year is landing on the equinox later in the month. The first day of Holi is called Choti Holi, where a large bonfire is lit. The next day is called Rangwali Holi when the colors are joyously thrown around with friends, family and the community. There are events all over the world to gather and celebrate with colors, but there are also many other ways to celebrate at home with family and friends.
What are some ways we can celebrate Holi?
-Play with colors! This could be making a painting with watercolors or using powders such as turmeric or beets mixed with water for paint.
-Paint something permanent! This could be on your house, a shelf or something on the property. Maybe paint a mural or a color on a wall that needs some sprucing up.
-Make sweet treats! These could be traditional treats, your favorites, or old family recipes.
-Plant seeds! We are on the brink of spring and it’s a full moon, giving the seeds extra sprouting power.
-Make an earth mandala to celebrate spring. You can use organic materials you find on the ground such as redwood cones, sticks and leaves. You can also use dried beans, lentils, rice and powders such as turmeric or homemade Gulal. Make this in your yard, in the forest or on the beach.
-You can make your own Gulal powders to throw around or decorate with. Mix chickpea flour and turmeric for a yellow powder. Other materials could be marigolds, roses, hibiscus flowers, beets and henna powder. To make colorful water, beets or red onions can be boiled for red/magenta water.
Today also happens to be International Women’s Day! Today we can celebrate the mothers of this world that nurture the future generations. We can honor the women who make the world go around and those who have contributed to peace and equality. This day began in 1857 when female textile workers began a protest to make noise about unequal working conditions and unequal rights. Today we can spread the love and appreciation for strong, intelligent and amazing women we all know!
Holi and International Women’s Day can be celebrated in tandem; the joy, creativity, colorfulness and love that lives in every woman is being celebrated as the outpouring of spring energy, love, light and life! We can celebrate the nurturing essence of the Earth by making offerings and art in nature with colors and natural supplies. Planting seeds is a celebration of the fertility of the Earth. Making delicious foods and sweets from our lineage is a great way to honor traditions that our mothers and grandmothers have made for generations. In these recipes we can remember and connect with our ancestors. May we celebrate the free expression and creativity of women on this holiday.
Wherever you are, Happy Holi and emergence of spring! 🙂