Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Off topic post: Holi Hai!

I have made several references to the festival of "HOLI" on my blog and I thought it was time to share with you all some pictures (not mine) of how HOLI is celebrated in Bombay (Mumbai, now) where I grew up!

We celebrate HOLI in Canada as well, except we don't use water - it's just a little colour that we pat onto people's cheeks or rub in their hair - it's all very civil here, I might add! :)

I remember, when I was growing up, the week before Holi was a nightmare because people would throw "water balloons" at you as you walked down the road, especially if you were a damsel walking alone. I can't tell you how many times one of those dreaded balloons would meet their mark and I'd run home sobbing to my poor ol' mom who would come out ready to drench my perpetrator with words and angry motions! :))) It was all good fun however.

These pictures have been uploaded from bahl.sonu's collection of pictures at flickr. The Holi Hai set is a collection of 30 photos and well worth viewing.



Tracie B. said...

that looks like fun! what beautiful girls too:)

Susan in Italy said...

This would be great on a hot day! So evidently only (or especially)girls get splashed? How did this begin? Is it a religious holiday?

Duru said...

"Holi Hai!!" (Its Holi) as they would exclaim in Mumbai where Holi is celebrated by everyone regardless of caste, creed, race, origin or class. It is a religious celebration which signifies the triumph of good over evil. The spirit of fun and freedom can be seen all over the city, in the streets at public places and in homes. A week prior to the actual day when the color madness is supposed to take place, people start preparing with all kinds of sweets, Rangoli (patterns drawn with the colored powders at the home entrance as a welcome note) Bhang, color mixes and the deadly water balloons, which are thrown at everyone in sight whether they are fat-thin-old-young-bald or beautiful. People actually do walk around with umbrellas lest they be hit by the water bomb. The atmosphere of love, fun, mischief prevails and everyone old and young participates, putting aside their worries and inhibitions.
On the big day everyone heads out early in the morning loading up water pistols and carrying every shade of color ranging from powders to the oily silver and gold paints, which would take days to tear off the skin. Holi is played all morning until late afternoon by which time everyone is drunk with bhang unrecognizable, covered with paint like walking talking Picasso’s and Salvador Dali’s. Laughter and music can be heard everywhere in the city, with the rich and famous members in the community having private parties while the middle and poorer classes making use of the public parks and beaches, which were crawling with food stalls and vendors selling bhang and colors. It was a day to be remembered and every year had its own thrills and experiences some memorable and some embarrassing, but the fun and spirit of Holi always lured everyone into taking the plunge. For those of you out there who haven’t experienced it I would say you are missing something.

sruthi said...

i really miss holi! It was a blast when I lived in bombay as well. And many people would wear white...a set of clothes especially set aside for this occasion. It took so long to scrub the colors off afterwards:)

Lotus Reads said...

Thanks, Tracie! :) You have a great blog and I will have to visit often; between Susan and you I am going to love learning about Italy!

Hi, Susan!

While everyone plays "Holi", you are right to guess that it's mostly the womenfolk, especially the younger ones, that get the most attention! :))) The "Bhang" that Duru (my friend from Bombay) mentions is a kind of moonshine that is made especially for the Holi celebration - it's potent stuff!

Hi Duru,

Thanks so much for dropping by - I feel so nostalgic now. Maybe next year we can plan to meet in Bombay for a holi celebration? Do you think it's feasible?

Hi, Sruthi!

Seems like you and I have similar travel paths. We both grew up in Bombay, lived in the Middle East for a while and now we both find ourselves in North America! Cool!

contentmentindia said...

Dear Lotus,

It seems like only yesterday that we were running for shelter fomr those water missiles, sometimes filled with gooey surprises like egg and other vile concoctions.

Ah, but that was Mumbai...

In Bangalore, where I'm now, people are wary about 'spreading' their joy and wait to be invited by willing victims;)

Susan Abraham said...

Hi Lotus,
What a grand picture that is! I can only catch the first one by the way, from where I am currently in, in Malaysia.
But it was very nice of you to share Holi with us and I really like the idea of the moonshine. *grin & lots of love*

Susan in Italy said...

This really seems like a blast! Maybe a bit similar to Carnival where everybody getsa to go a little crazy for a while? Thanks for the explanations Lotus and Duru! Sruthi, I see you live in Chicago!! This makes me nostalgic, although a March Holi Hai celebration would be pretty uncomfortable... Better Mumbai.

Lotus Reads said...

Ms. Contentment!

True, I completely forgot about those balloons filled with rather unsavory items! Eeek! So much for happy memories! :)))

And, when are you going to post something on your blog? I check it atleast once a week, c'mon, make it worth my while! :)

hi, Susan

Thanks for stopping by. Oh, that bhang is a deadly concoction! :) Would you know if the Indian community in Malaysia celebrates Holi? They probably do, but then again, this being primarily a festival from the North of India, it would depend on how many people of North Indian origin you have in Malaysia.

Susan Abraham said...

Most people here are aware of Holi, Lotus, especially those families from the North of India and of course, these are thousands. But it is not celebrated in Malaysia. We see it all the time though in a Bollywood film or the classic Hindustani ones - before the word Bollywood was coined - and sometimes you even read about it as an episode in South Asian fiction or in a short story. I like the sound of the festival very much, by the way. Must go to India to take part in it someday. It would be such a heavenly experience. *love*