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Holi: The Festival of Colors

J&J mom Manju shares a bit of her cultural heritage by talking about her favorite holiday, Holi.
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One of my favorite Indian holidays is Holi. Perhaps you’ve seen it depicted in a Bollywood movie. Holi is a spring festival held in March of each year. It is also known as the festival of colors or the festival of love. It’s a special holiday to me because it’s a wonderful time to relax, have fun and reconnect with my entire family.

Holi is a free-for-all carnival of colors. People play, chase and color each other with dry powder and colored water, with some carrying water guns and colored water-filled balloons for their water fight. The festival signifies the victory of good over evil, and the arrival of spring. For many, it is a festive day to meet others, play and laugh, forget and forgive, and repair ruptured relationships.

Anyone and everyone is fair game during Holi water fights. Friend or stranger, man or woman, children and elders – no one can escape the fun! In India, the frolic and fight with colors occurs in the open streets, open parks, outside temples and buildings. Groups carry drums and musical instruments, and travel from place to place while singing and dancing. People visit family, friends and foes to throw colors on each other, laugh and talk, and share Holi delicacies.

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One of the reasons I love Holi so much is because it’s such fun for children. What child doesn’t want to throw water balloons and colored powder at grownups without getting in trouble? If any grownups get upset with the children, they reply with Bura na mano Holi hai, which means, “Don’t mind, it’s Holi!” Children also have their water guns, called pichkaris, to drench the person in colored water. In the midst of these coloring games, there are mouth-watering Holi specialties like gujiya (sweet dumpling), malpuas (pancake), mathri (a kind of flaky biscuit), puran poli (sweet flatbread), and more. It is truly a special time of celebration.

Young or old, everyone loves Holi. I am excited for my children to carry on the tradition of celebrating Holi as they grow and have their own children.

Manju was born in India and migrated to New York when she was six years old. Manju and her husband have been married for 26 years and have two children, a 22 year old son, and a 19 year old daughter. Manju loves traveling, and have gone to many countries with her family.

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