Litha Crew Post from April 4, 2022
Holi celebrates the arrival of spring, the end of winter, the blossoming of love and for many, it is a festive day to meet others, play and laugh, forget and forgive, and repair broken relationships. The festival is also an invocation for a good spring harvest season.
Holi celebrations start on the night before Holi with a Holika Dahan where people gather, perform religious rituals in front of the bonfire, and pray that their internal evil be destroyed the way Holika, the sister of the demon king Hiranyakashipu, was killed in the fire. The next morning is celebrated as Rangwali Holi (Dhuleti) – a free-for-all festival of colours, where people smear each other with colours and drench each other. Water guns and water-filled balloons are also used to play and colour each other. Anyone and everyone is fair game, friend or stranger, rich or poor, man or woman, children, and elders. The frolic and fight with colours occurs in the open streets, parks, outside temples and buildings. Groups carry drums and other musical instruments, go from place to place, sing and dance. People visit family, friends and foes come together to throw coloured powders on each other, laugh and gossip, then share Holi delicacies, food and drinks. In the evening, people dress up and visit friends and family.
When we sailed away, we wanted our kids to experience different cultures and meet people who lived different than us. We absolutely experienced that. When we moved back to the US, we thought this would be something that they would be missing out on. Well, that’s not the case at all!
I had never heard of Holi until meeting some new friends. One our friends is from India and wanted to bring his Hindu traditions home to his wife, daughter and his friends here. They’ve usually done a small family Holi celebration at home. Last year their family invited me and Evie, and my friend and her son… And we had a blast. We all said that this year we should make it a much bigger celebration so that more people can learn about Holi and experience the holiday.
So, that’s what we did.
Maybe next year’s celebration will be even bigger! And who doesn’t love an extra celebration to bring in the colors of spring?
The US has such an amazing mix of culture. You don’t even need to travel, you can learn so much from just meeting your neighbors. There is a neighborhood here in Salem called “The Point”. It’s known as being the “dangerous” part of town. If I walk Evie to and from school, we walk through a couple blocks of The Point. I actually love it and I don’t think it’s dangerous what-so-ever. It reminds me of walking through the streets of Central America. Latin music is playing, there’s kids running around and laughing, people are cooking delicious-smelling food, and people are speaking Spanish as they’re repairing cars or appliances in their driveways.
Lesson this month… Learn from others, especially from those that are different than you. I think this country would be so much less divided if we all heard and experienced each others stories.