Monday, March 01, 2010

Holi: Celebrate Green

 Not holy as in holier than though, or Holy Cow (great dance club in San Francisco, btw). But, Holi with an I. Indians around the world celebrate the festival of Holi at the end of the winter season to mark the beginning spring. Spring = color which forms the premise of Holi. The two-day festival starts with huge bonfires on the first day followed by people throwing colored powder and water at friends and family on the second day to mark the first day of spring. Holi reminds me of the bright colors of the Carnaval festival celebrated in South America.

Holi trivia: Spring brings a change in temperature which increases bacteria and allergens in the air. In ancient India people threw powders with medicinal properties on each other which boosted their immune systems. A couple of thousands of years later and with commercialization came the mass manufacturing of colors that contain contaminants and chemicals. This slowly progressed to including tomato juice, eggs and grease (yuck, yuck and double yuck) or whatever not-so-fun items teenagers could think of. (Let your imagination go wild here). Now, another couple of thousand years later people are beginning to understand the grossness factor and health hazard to those using them and to the environment.

How can you celebrate eco-friendly, green Holi? By making your own colors instead of purchasing commercial colors. (And if you don't have access to these exact materials listed, use the instructions below to use other natural materials to experiment with creating your own colors.) Kids will enjoy making these as much as playing with them and you can recycle left over color for painting or making holiday cards.

All supplies listed below are common spices found in organic version at regular supermarkets or check at your local Indian store.

Yellow: 2 teaspoons of Turmeric + 4 teaspoons chick pea (besan) flour. The paste is excellent for the skin, btw.

Red/Purple: Grate Beets and add to water overnight. The longer it soaks the darker the color is.

Green: Ground spinach/ Henna powder + Water.

Orange: Buy orange flowers such as Marigold from your local store. Add water and blend.

The Asha organization along with the University of Stanford will be hosting their annual Holi celebration on March 27th, 2010. Click here for tickets and more information. Along with food, music and a fantastic time with friends, your ticket will serve a good cause. An admission ticket pays for a year of education for a child in India.

Happy Holi! Please don't do grease. It is gross. Celebrate green, instead.

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