An Adventure in Color

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Any Way You Want It by Journey.

The world is absolutely an amazing place. There is so much to see and learn and try. It all astounds me. I love so many things, and that is why the Hindu Holi Festival of Color is right up my alley.

Yesterday, Frankie guessed correctly when I showed a picture that looked like I had jumped through a rainbow. The Holi Festival of Color is an amazing experience, and if you ever have a chance to go, I highly recommend it.

First a little history for those interested (via religionfacts. Read the last paragraph if nothing else):

Celebrated all over India since ancient times, Holi's precise form and purpose display great variety. Originally, Holi was an agricultural festival celebrating the arrival of spring.

This aspect still plays a significant part in the festival in the form of the colored powders: Holi is a time when man and nature alike throw off the gloom of winter and rejoice in the colors and liveliness of spring.

Holi also commemorates various events in Hindu mythology, but for most Hindus it provides a temporary opportunity for Hindus to disregard social norms, indulge in merrymaking and generally "let loose."

The legend commemorated by the festival of Holi involves an evil king named Hiranyakashipu. He forbade his son Prahlad from worshipping Vishnu, but Radhu continued to do offer prayers to the god. Getting angry with his son, Hiranyakashipu challenged Prahlad to sit on a pyre with his wicked aunt Holika who was believed to be immune to fire. (In an alternate version, Holika put herself and Prahlad on the fire on orders from her brother.)

Prahlad accepted the challenge and prayed to Vishnu to keep him safe. When the fire started, everyone watched in amazement as Holika was burnt to death, while Prahlad survived without a scar to show for it. The burning of Holika is celebrated as Holi. According to some accounts, Holika begged Prahlad for forgiveness before her demise, and he decreed that she would be remembered every year at Holi.

An alternative account of the basis of the holiday is associated with a legend involving Lord Shiva, one of the major Hindu gods. Shiva is known for his meditative nature and his many hours spent in solitude and deep meditation. Madana, the God of love, decided to test his resolve and appeared to Shiva in the form of a beautiful nymph. But Shiva recognized Madana and became very angry. In a fit of rage he shot fire out of his third eye and reduced her to ashes. This is sometimes given as the basis of Holi's bonfire.

The festival of Holi is also associated with the enduring love between Lord Krishna (an incarnation of Vishnu) and Radha, and Krishna in general. According to legend, the young Krishna complained to his mother Yashoda about why Radha was so fair and he so dark. Yashoda advised him to apply colour on Radha's face and see how her complexion would change. Because of this associated with Krishna, Holi is extended over a longer period in Vrindavan and Mathura, two cities with which Krishna is closely affiliated.

Krishna's followers everywhere find special meaning in the joyous festival, as general frivolity is considered to be in imitation of Krishna's play with the gopis (wives and daughters of cowherds).

Holi is spread out over two days (it used to be five, and in some places it is longer). The entire holiday is associated with a loosening of social restrictions normally associated with caste, sex, status and age. Holi thus bridges social gaps and brings people together: employees and employers, men and women, rich and poor, young and old. Holi is also characterized by the loosening of social norms governing polite behavior and the resulting general atmosphere of licentious merrymaking and ribald language and behavior. A common saying heard during Holi is bura na mano, Holi hai ("don't feel offended, it's Holi").

So there you have it. I like to learn as much as I can about anything I try because it gives a depth and richness to it that I might have missed out on. But let's admit it, the idea of throwing pure color at people sounds like a ton of fun. Onto the main event!


me before it all goes down. :)

all of us together. There were estimates between 5,000-15,000 people there.

getting ready for the big puff.

she has the right idea - trust me.

as the dust begins to settle. We literally blocked out the sun (seriously)!

the long walk home. Cars were lined up for miles.

A closer look at the carnage. Really, it was the most incredible experience.

And here is a short video clip of the actual footage. I am to the far far left so the pavilion is blocking where I would be, but that also meant we got all of the downdraft. Downdraft = *awesome.* But don't count on breathing too much (remember that purple tongue and blocking out the sun?). And you are going to get very thirsty because this stuff is made of maize and starch. The video does a good job of capturing the feeling of being there (and the song is the actual song they sang after the big puff). My suggestion to you? Go find an adventure of your own. Today. Now. It can be anything, even something simple. Adventures are not limited to superheroes only. Remember, I'm only ordinary girl extraordinaire. I just make sure I have fun with the title.


Charlotte (The Book on the Hill) said...

That is so cooool ! And beautiful ! Thanks for sharing this with us, it's way more fabulous than the guess I had made...!

You look fab in colors.

Life is beautiful. :)

beth said...


OK, tell me when/where and I'm SO THERE next year.

THAT looks freaking amazing.

Heather Zundel said...

Charlotte - Oh, but I LOVED your guess! I really do want to write a short story on that now, I'm not kidding. And thank you for the compliment!

Beth - I KNOW. Well, I can tell you where the one in Utah is. Reason to visit, eh? :)