17 March 2022 · Bernadette Cunningham
Holi Festival is here, with all its colours and vibrancy! This festival is one of the most important celebrations in Indian culture, and is celebrated every year by millions of people worldwide.
Holi Festival, also known as the ‘Festival of Spring’ or the ‘Festival of Colours’, is an ancient Hindu holiday. It marks the end of winter and arrival of spring, and is typically celebrated in March.
It is a celebration of the triumph of good over evil, and an opportunity to meet others, unite in love and laughter, forgive, and forget, and repair any broken relationships.
Holi Festival is celebrated across 2 days. On the first day, people light bonfires and gather around, throwing roasting grains, such as popcorn, chickpeas, and even coconuts, onto the fire. On the second day, everyone throws perfumed powder called gulal at each other, along with water balloons and pichkaris (water guns), to help the coloured powder stick.
After a colourful day of laughter and play, people wash up, clean themselves and dress up for the evening ahead. They visit family and friends to enjoy a delicious feast with traditional sweets and dumplings.
Legend says Krishna had blue skin because he drank poisoned milk as a young boy. After falling in love with Radha, he feared she would not love him because of his blue skin. Krishna expressed his worry to his mother Yashoda, who told Krishna to apply colour to Radha’s face, and change her complexion to whatever colour he wished.
It is thanks to this colourful legend that the playful games of applying coloured powder to one another during the Holi festival have now become a tradition.
Here are the meanings behind the variety of colours used during Holi festival:
Red – the colour of passion, love, and fertility
Blue – the colour of Krishna’s face, also the sky and ocean
Yellow – the colour of knowledge and learning, also representing happiness, peace, and meditation
Green – the colour of nature, also symbolising the start of spring and new beginnings
Pink – the colour of care and compassion
Purple – the colour of mystery and magic
Holi is one of the oldest festivals in India. Therefore, it is no wonder there are many interesting stories associated with this celebration.
Why not fill your lunch break with some culture and explore one or more of these popular Holi stories:
The Legend of Holika and Prahlad
The Legend of Radha and Krishna
The Legend of Kaamadeva
The Legend of Dhundhi
The Legend of Pootana
The Holi Festival is a wonderful opportunity to unite people and strengthen societies and countries. Not only do Hindus celebrate it, but non-believers like to celebrate it too, because it’s such a colourful celebration.
Although it might be impossible to turn your office into a rainbow-powder wonderland, there are many ways to still bring this joyful and colourful celebration into your workplace.
Hang up a canvas or poster in the office lounge/cafeteria, with various coloured paints, so that employees can dip their hand into any colour and then place it on the canvas. They can then write a positive little note. This is a wonderfully creative way to take part, whilst also maintaining anonymity if you so wish!
Why not host some exciting quizzes? The theme could revolve around Bollywood films, general knowledge of India, or even about Holi festival itself! You can never go wrong with a fun quiz!
If you are more of a foodie, why not choose a specific Indian dish to cook, bring into work, and share with your other colleagues? Try choosing colourful spices to add some colour!
Come in to work wearing the most colourful clothes you have, and see if anyone else outshines you. Whoever is the most colourfully dressed wins!
Every colour reflects a certain characteristic/mood/skill. For example, Green could represent Eco-friendliness. So, you would give the Green Award to whoever the most eco-friendly employee is, and so on.
From all of us here at PAB, we would like to say Happy Holi! Have a colourful celebration!