Holi is a long-celebrated Hindu festival. It originated in India, but with time it has moved the world over! Nowadays, Hindus celebrate Holi all over the world, and turmeric can play an important part in every single one of those ceremonies.
What is Holi?
The ancient Hindu festival Holi is an annual event that celebrates the arrival of spring and the end of winter. The arrival of spring is typically also taken as a metaphor for fresh starts in the coming year. Typically, Holi is used to celebrate the blossoming of love, as well as to meet new people and repair broken relationships.
The festival also celebrates the beginning of a good spring harvest season. Lasting for a day and a night, it starts in the evening of Purnima (Full Moon day). The festival starts on this date every year in the Hindu calendar, and on the gregorian calendar, this typically falls around the middle of March.
How is Holi celebrated?
Holi celebrations start on the night before Holi. A Holika Dahan takes place, where people gather and perform religious rituals. These rituals serve to pray that their internal evil may be destroyed the way Holika was killed in the fire.
The next morning is the free-for-all festival of colours that you may imagine when you hear the word ‘Holi’. The traditional term for this is Rangwali Holi.
People smear each other with colours and drench each other with water. Water guns and water balloons are filled and used in the celebrations. Sometimes, people may even fill water guns and balloons with paint in order to colour the people around them. Anyone is considered ‘fair game’, if they’re old or young, rich or poor, friend or stranger. This unifying experience can serve to play a big part in ‘burying the hatchet’ of old grudges, as it is customary to visit friends, foes, and family members to throw coloured powders on each other.
After this part of the celebrations is up, people will have a more relaxed celebration. Typically, people will visit each other to laugh and gossip, before sharing a huge range of Holi delicacies, food, and drinks. Some customary drinks include bhang, which is a drink made from cannabis which is very intoxicating. In the evening, after they’ve sobered up and cleaned off, people will typically dress up and visit their friends and family.
Turmeric’s Role In Holi
Turmeric powder is a powerful dye, which can serve to turn anything it touches a bright golden-yellow colour. Nowadays, the powders are often artificial, but in more traditional settings, organic powders may be used.
Large quantities of turmeric powder are prepared in the approach to Holi, and as it is available quite cheaply, many different people will have a tub of it. As with dyes of other colours, this yellow powder is thrown over other people who are celebrating Holi, with no distinction being made: everyone is a potential target in the brightly-coloured carnage.
As turmeric powder has a very distinctive colour, it can sometimes be mixed with other substances to get the exact shade. A common secondary ingredient is chickpea flour, which will serve to lighten the colour of the powder on the whole.
Turmeric is important in the traditions of Holi as yellow has a significance in Hinduism. At the point of the year where Holi falls, people are often hoping and wishing for new and great things in the new year. Yellow signifies knowledge and learning, primarily, so the colour can be used to denote hope for that in the coming year.
Yellow is also the colour of Lord Vishnu, a powerful god in the Hindu religion. Some tribes also believe that the colour yellow has powers to keep evil spirits away.
Because of its importance in society as a whole as well as its importance in Hinduism, turmeric and it’s yellow appearance are often key players in Holi celebrations.
Holi is a beautiful festival with a wonderful meaning behind it. It’s a fantastic way to put old grudges behind you and move into the coming year with love and positivity, as well as having your family all around you. Consider checking out our authentic Indian turmeric powder if you’re planning to celebrate Holi this year!