Noopur takes us down a nostalic path, and tells our readers more about the festival of ‘Holi’, an uninhibited celebration of color. For those of us celebrating holi in Switzerland, she shares a few ideas to make the celebration special.
“Rang, Gulal, Pitchakari, Maal pua, Bhang, Gujiya”
These words make you nostalgic, take you down memory lane. Well, it’s springtime, it’s Holi time, our festival of colors, the festival of fun, a celebration of relations. Remember when you used to throw color balloons on the passersby. The days when you squeezed the Pitchakari (water gun) and your friend or cousin were soaked in the colored water. Yes, it is time to gear up for this fun celebration.
Sun is shining for longer hours and we are eagerly waiting for warmer days it is the time to play the legendary “rang barse, bhige chunar wali” and shake your legs copying the iconic steps of Mr Bachchan.
After a long time, the Covid restrictions are eased, and we can celebrate Holi. It might not be the best time to celebrate Holi as the weather is not suitable for Indian Holi. But that does not dampen our spirits. As is customary, the second and third weeks of March will be marked with Holi parties and potlucks. This year Holi is on Friday, March 18th, 2022. And Indians around the world will immerse themselves in the colors and spirit of this festival.
Celebrating festivals in their true form is always challenging when you stay outside India. We have to scale down, make adjustments according to the work schedule. But Holi or for that matter any festival is much more than scale and grandeur. We can be creative, we can have our own little celebration and have as much fun.
Making your own colors
Purvi Mithani from Wallisellen went all-out making her own colours from scratch when she did not find enough in the Indian store. An avid DIY-er, she looked up internet tutorials to make her own natural colours. Her kids joined in as well. In the words of Ms Mithani, “Holi is a yearly stress buster for me. When I moved to Switzerland, I was missing the Indian festivities and missed Holi the most. So, I made some friends and planned a Holi party in school. To make it exciting, we made colors at home with kids, using corn starch, food coloring, and some essential oils for fragrance. It was messy but fun-filled affair”.
Anna Bernadas, an International school teacher, always went big on every unit that she taught to the students. She planned her celebration unit around the actual celebrations, so her students could soak in the spirit of the celebration. She also celebrated Holi celebration with her class, just as any Indian family would.
She plans to include videos playing the mythological story related to this celebration. She discusses the seasons while talking about celebrations around the world. Be it Songkran of Thailand, Cherry Blossom of Japan, Saman Santa of Guatemala, Tulip Festival of Holland, Mexican carnival, Fells in Spain, Cimburijada in Bosnia, or the very Swiss Sechseläuten or snowman burning, not to mention, the Easter celebrations that take place around the world.
To Ms Bernadas, the key is her kids take pride in their culture, their heritage while being open-minded and having a global outlook and respect for other cultures.
Reading books and stories about the festival
Reading and watching educational videos is something we can do anywhere, anytime in the world. Sharing the stories of Holika and Hiranyakashyapu and how good wins over evil are values we can reiterate on such occasions, in addition to playing songs that center around Holi.
Bonding with friends and family
Talking to grandparents and extended family in India or other parts of the world and sharing their photographs and stories of celebrations can also have a lasting impact. Our kids will see and learn about the large-scale celebrations and gatherings across India, and watching people watercolors on each other adds to the fun.
In the process of playing with dry colors, devouring our traditional cuisines, building our own little world we are retaining our Indian traditions, albeit with some twists. We are also giving our kids a sneak peek into our culture and our heritage.
We wish you a very happy and colorful Holi!
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