Innovative Ways of Playing Holi: The festival of colors comes around each year, filled with promises and excitement. For the majority of India, Holi signifies the triumph of good over evil, of the coming together of loved ones and of faith. The festival business is big in India, however, the way people celebrate Holi has changed significantly in the past few decades. Now the trend is to host Holi get-togethers, parties and have lots of colors and water balloons with friends and family.
How about doing something different this year? Something fun! Here are 5 innovative ways of playing Holi celebrations unique this year:
1. Lath Mar Holi
A tradition unique to the state of Uttar Pradesh in India, Lath Mar Holi is mostly played in a town called Barsana near the city of Mathura. The festival is celebrated with the belief that Lord Krishna would visit his beloved Radha’s village during Holi, and tease her and her friends. Radha and her friends would then chase Krishna away with lathis or sticks. Lath Mar Holi is thus played in accordance with this Hindu legend – men try to incite the women by singing songs and the women chase them away with long sticks or lathis while the men try to protect themselves with shields.
A special drink called thandai is prepared as well which is a cold beverage with bhaang (cannabis) served in between lath mar performances. Rose petals and colored powder are also showered on the people on the joyous occasion. While Lath Mar Holi is a very different and extremely earthy way of celebrating the festival, it does require some precaution because of the use of sticks. People who have never played Lath Mar Holi should go easy and make sure they don’t accidentally hit an unsuspecting person.
2. Holi at an Old Age Home
What better way to celebrate the festival of colors than with a group of people who form an important, yet often ignored part of the society – the elderly? There are numerous families which have had to resort to putting their parents or other elders in old age homes because they cannot afford to take care of them due to their busy lives. These people hardly ever get the chance to celebrate a festival with family, so why not become their family and spread the cheer? If you know of an old age home near you, then bring a couple of friends along and pay a surprise visit.
Old age homes never refuse guests, even if you just turn up. Their sole motive is to provide the elderly with a warm, comfortable environment. This sort of a Holi celebration doesn’t need to be over the top – you can bring a couple of dry colors along and spend time with those who live in the old age home. Engage in some good conversation, have fun, play cards and make the festival a joyful experience for someone who lives away from their friends and family.
3. Holi Sweets Sale
A good way to celebrate Holi is to organize a Holi sweets sale in your neighborhood and donate the earnings to charity. A group of families or perhaps even the entire neighborhood can contribute to the sale by preparing sweet dishes for Holi such as gujia, laddoos and even other treats like pastries, cakes and cookies which appeal more to the kids. The sale can be organized in a park or at someone’s house. The idea is to engage the entire community in doing something different than just playing Holi with colors and water, and finishing the festival off by mid-day.
Apart from the fun with pitchkaaris and water balloons, the entire community can enjoy the festival’s sweet delights together. Holi is a festival which is best celebrated with as many people as possible – there is a special bond between people that Holi is capable of creating and cementing. Add to that the fact that the fun is also going to help better someone’s else’s life. Use flyers and posters to spread the word. If the message is communicated effectively, then you are sure to raise a lot of money through the sale.
4. Eco-friendly Color Stalls
In the recent years, there has been a renewed activism regarding the adverse effects of playing Holi with synthetic colors, both on the individual and the environment. Synthetic and chemical colors are artificially prepared to look richer, however they can be extremely harmful for your skin. Once the chemicals mix with the air and water, they can harm the environment as well, especially the bodies of water into which the drainage systems ultimately dump the waste, without treating it properly. To promote the use of organic and home-made colors for Holi, make colors using fruits and flowers – red color can be made using rose petals, yellow using marigolds and yellow chrysanthemums, and green can be made using coriander, spinach and mint leaves.
There are different ways of making organic colors at home, a simple web search will give you enough tips on how to do that. However, not everyone has the time to invest into making colors at home. Luckily, with the spread of awareness about the harmful effects of chemical colors, organic colors have increasingly taken over the markets. You can gather a few friends and family members and open an eco-friendly colors stall where people in your locality can buy organic colors and celebrate a safer Holi. The idea is to promote the use of natural colors over chemical colors – you can also distribute pamphlets or flyers which tell how one can identify a synthetic color while purchasing packets for Holi.
5. Bollywood Theme Holi
Holi parties are a great way to celebrate the festival with friends and family, but too often they get a tad bit boring, doing the same thing year after year. An interesting spin you can add to your Holi party this year to have a theme – a theme which borrows from an industry that has consistently redefined Holi in popular imagination with its music and dance; Bollywood. A Bollywood themed Holi has a lot of perks – for one you will be able ask people to dress up as their favorite Bollywood character, or at least wear something that represents them.
The dress code for a Holi party is usually white, but one can always experiment. You could invite guests to organize dance performances on popular Holi musical hits from Bollywood movies. If you want to spend a little extra and give it a more authentic Bollywood feel, you can decorate the venue with props and other items to recreate the sets of a popular Holi song. Just let your imagination guide you.
Want another innovative way to play holi and make it more fun ?