Happy Holi 2018
Like the Festival of Lights or Diwali, Holi has been another Hindu festival that has been embraced by western society wherever people of the Indian diaspora have made their home.
It is hard to believe that only a decade ago, festivals like Holi were seen to be alien and westerners could not understand it and saw through tinted sunglasses of lots of people throwing paint at each other without understanding the true relevance of what lies beneath the colours.
In the modern era where Indians are growing in confidence with their own identity and their own success, religious festivals have been one way of expressing the Hindu identity. And this has been partly due to the all-out demonstration of faith by outwardly looking places of worship such as the Neasden Temple in London and Bhaktivedanta Manor in Watford.
Holi is a Sanskrit word noting the arrival of spring. It signifies victory of good over evil and a time to play, laugh, forgive and mend broken relationships. It is also celebrated as a thanksgiving for a good harvest.
Hindus celebrate Holi all over the world. But it is the recent rise of its popularity by westerners who have embraced the concept, even though many may not see them as religious and certainly not Hindus. But the idea of marking good over evil by have fun and throwing colours can’t do any harm to one’s own identity no matter what that identity may be since as humanity we all want good to win over evil. So it is not surprising that parts of European and North American culture are turning Holi into an international event.
Anyone can google what Holi is about these days, but there is an interesting article in The Independent which outlines the basics of Holi with some interesting ideas in how to get the colours of after the fun. Another national broadsheet, The Telegraph tries to explain the relevance. What is fascinating is how the national press now covers the festival which only a few years ago it would not have considered it. How the times have changed. Like all good things, there is always a scope to exploit the principals. Money Control, a web portal on all things money tries to link the colours of Holi to different trading colours. You have to give them A+ for creativity. So after Diwali, Holi it will be interesting to see what will the next major Hindu festival make it into the world arena of faith and identity.