Culminating my tour in NW India with a group of textile enthusiasts we ended our time yesterday together in Jaipur. The last full day of our scheduled time fell upon Holi; the Festival of Colours. This holiday is celebrated at the vernal equinox welcoming spring. It is also known as the Festival of Love and from it’s Hindu beliefs celebrates embracing a time of reconciliation, letting go of grudges, forgiving of debts and broad sense of inclusiveness between people. In the contemporary Indian culture they refer to ‘playing Holi’; trust me there is a very strong element of play involved as people enter in to the festivities with awesome degree of abandon.
On the night of the full moon bonfires are lit and crowds gather. The fires are symbolic of the triumph of good over evil. Women light green branches from the fire and take the ashes into their homes.
The following morning the celebrations begin. We celebrated in the garden of our hotel with about fifty people. There were three year olds and seventy year olds; and everyone in between. Tables heaped with colored powders were scattered across the grassy lawn. Buckets full of water and super soaker squirt guns added a cooling effect as people chased each other with handfuls of powder. When the opportunity arose colour was thrown or applied by smearing whoever was within arms reach.
Local drummers and a horn player, young girls dancing and amplified Bollywood-esque music added energy to the group. A bar served Kingfisher beer and drinks and during a lull lunch was served under a tented canopy.
There was a sense of great abandonment and fun. People let their hair down, laughed, shouted, teased, let loose with their aggression and generally played hard and long. Lots and lots of fun. As I ‘played’ I longed for my five year old grandson to be there. It was a child’s delight being able to be naughty in such a sanctioned way. A great game of tag that involved lots of messy colour and massive squirt guns. What could be better?