India's Happy Festival
Forget the bindis, glitter and trudging through heaps of mud at Glastonbury and say hello to Holi! It’s one of the world’s most colourful festivals, and for good reason. Since when do adults throw coloured powder and squirt water guns at each other? Now you’ve got a reason to. Let your inner child out - it’s good for the soul.
Following the lunar calendar, Holi falls on the day after the full moon in March. Celebrating the arrival of spring is at the core of this kaleidoscopic dream. But there is a lot more to it than just that.
This Hindu festival of Holi brings emphasis of burning the demoness Holika. Legend has it, her brother, a demon king was granted immortality with a lot of terms and conditions. He couldn’t be killed by man or animal, indoors or outdoors, during day or night, neither on land, in water or in the air, and neither by projectile or handheld weapons. Only his own son, Prahlad, could kill him - who was basically a saint who worshipped Lord Vishnu.
The demon king tried to kill his son on numerous accounts but he was divinely protected by the Gods. Holika offered to sit with Prahlad on a pyre that would burn him alive. The demon king created a shawl for Holika to protect her from the fire.
Miraculously, this shawl flew onto Prahlad. Yep, you’ve guessed it - the demoness Holika turned into ashes and Prahlad lived. At the same time, Lord Vishnu appeared as half-man, half lion, met him on a doorstep (neither indoors or outdoors), appeared at dusk (neither day or night), placed him on his lap (neither land, air or water) and killed the demon king with his fierce claws (neither projectile nor handheld weapon).
So the Holika bonfire (also where the term ‘Holi’ is derived from) is lit at dusk on the night of Holi in remembrance of this legend signifying the victory of good over evil. Do good and you’ll get good karma. #Belikeprahlad.
Being kind, good and helpful are one of the great values learnt from the history of this vibrant festival but it’s good for your holistic health too.
It’s believed the vibrancy of this festival has a tonne of health benefits on a physical, mental and emotional level.
OK, we know how it goes, it’s winter, and all you want to do is come home, put on cosy socks and sip warm, chocolatey goodness. But Holi will come with a big bang to wake you up from a sleepy, lazy routine. From the intense drums to the brisk movements (running after someone with pink powder), Holi rejuvenates your system and gets you prepared for the warm months ahead.
And it’s scientifically proven colour stimulates us. According to Ayurveda, India’s traditional holistic science, if there are any misalignment in the body, to cure it, we should provide ourselves with the food, medicine and environment. Holi is the perfect environment that’s home to all the colours of the rainbow. But, even if you’re not a fan of Ayurveda, this festival will sure leave you feeling optimistic, revitalised and energised.
Include Jaipur in your India itinerary and we'll show you around the city. Famous for being the 'Pink City', it's also full of dazzling reds, brimming blues and powerful pinks. And, the yearly Elephant festival in Jaipur is held one day before Holi - two birds with one stone.
But first, we need to give you the lowdown on how to celebrate Holi properly in India.
Essential Guide to Holi
First, you need to pick a Holi spot. People usually celebrate with their family and friends on the streets in small groups. So why not celebrate with the guests at your hotel - we’re sure they’ll be up for painting the town red - no, literally.
You don’t want to dish out your best clothes and get dye all over them. Remember to bring old clothes or an old white t-shirt to really emphasise the colours on you.
Talking about colours on you, if your a blonde - save. your. hair. You’ll be covered in every colour under the sun and it’ll take many washes or even days for you to rinse all the colours out. Top tip - drench your hair in oil. It acts as a protective barrier against the water dyes and coloured powders. Try using coconut oil - it’ll be a pampering deep conditioning for your hair too.
Be vigilant when you're out on the streets. Holi is pretty safe but people can get carried away with drinking, especially drinking too much bhang (a cannabis milkshake for want of a better word, which has been part of the Holi traditions for thousands of years). Be safe out there.
To capture all the fun, you’ll want to protect your camera. Make sure you bring a waterproof case to protect your digital camera from the dyes and water guns.
So there you have it. Enjoy Holi in Jaipur with it’s holistic health benefits and vibrant atmosphere.
Just don’t forget to take some colourful pics for the gram. Colours in the air - a perfect backdrop.