After having visited Spain, France, Italy, England, Belgium and Germany, it is time for our column to find its true self and set sail for one of the most beautiful countries in the world: India. Thanks to the valuable help of our good friend Debojyoti Samanta, we will discuss a truly… colourful festival!!!
But let us hear directly from him about this event:«It is the Holi or Dol Jatra, but it is much better known as the Festival of Colours, and it is really an amazing experience! We throw colours over each other, mainly scented powder (known as Abir in Bengali or Gulal in Hindi), we also use water pistols or sprinklers called Pichkaari to shoot people with colored water!» It is, indeed, something unique: people overflow into the streets in a triumph of vivid colours, in a climate of light-heartedness and euphoria; what is more, the festival strengthens the country’s fabric, erasing the differences between rich and poor, old and young, men and women, also turning enemies into friends.
Sam goes on explaining us the religious origins of the festival:«Lord Krishna (our Hindu God) played Holi in the ancient times: he was the first to cover his beloved Radha with bright colours. Today Holi is Celebrated almost everywhere in the country: in the Eastern and Western part…but mainly in the Northeast. Not so much in the Southern states.»
Other than the religious meaning, Holi (whose celebration lasts two days in many regions) symbolizes the end of the winter and the arrival of spring, a period when people (not only in India!) tend to be a little lazier than usual: to counteract this sensation they talk and sing loudly and their movement are lively. What is more, many people maintain that the powder (obtained from medical herbs), make the human body stronger and more beautiful by penetrating through the pores.
The festival ends with a bonfire which symbolizes the victory of Good over Evil; after that, people visit their friends and relatives exchanging hugs and sweets, in a mood of brotherhood and joy.
«I love this time of the year! – Sam concludes – it has been my favourite since I was very young: as a child I grew up playing Holi every year! I recommend you to take part in it at least once in your life!»
And judging from the pictures, Sam is absolutely right!
Very special thanks to Debojyoti Samanta