Celebrating Diversity—Holi, the Festival of Colors
Posted by: Ashutosh Arun, Premier Executive.
India is home to a huge diversity of cultures, religions, and languages where people from different religions coexist harmoniously. The wide variety of festivals celebrated in India is a true manifestation of its rich culture and traditions. Winter ends, spring arrives, and the festival of colors, Holi, begins. While its roots are religious, tied in many ways to the god Krishna, Holi is also seen as a celebration of good versus evil, and of a good harvest.
Unity in Diversity
Holi is a festival that reminds us of a vibrant and colorful life which god has bestowed upon us. The colors with which Holi is celebrated denotes the various facets of life, moods, emotions, situations, attachments and aversions, spiritual knowledge, seasons, nature, evolution and involution of the universe, unity in diversity, one becoming many and many being one.
Holi is a festival of immense significance not only from the social point of view, but it is also relevant from the physical, cultural, and national perspective. It is not only a festival of colors, but also a festival of unity and friendship. All barriers like caste, creed, position, and language are forgotten and men and women join the fun, perfectly symbolizing unity in diversity.
The Importance of Holi
To an outsider, many of the traditions of Holi can give an impression of pure entertainment or fun. It’s important however to consider the religious side of the festival and what it really means to your Indian counterparts. In the case of Holi, each color has a specific meaning: green is for harmony, orange symbolizes faith in the future, blue brings health, while red represents love and joy. It is also a custom to apologise when throwing color at someone and you might hear “Bura na mano, Holi hai” (which can be translated by “please don’t be upset, it’s Holi”) a lot during the festival.
People in India take great pride in their cultural heritage, so when doing business in India, one should always try to understand as much as possible about the culture and traditions. In addition to religious celebrations like Holi, it’s also important to understand how Indians think, behave, and communicate in both social and professional spheres. Cartus’ Intercultural training on India can help you to understand the many working practices and business values in Indian culture and how they are influenced by unique religious and cultural traditions like Holi.
Celebrating Holi Around the World
Holi is a festival that appeals to people all over the world. Over the years it has transcended geographical barriers and is now celebrated with pomp and show in countries like the U.S., the UK, South Africa, Malaysia, Fiji, and several others that house a significantly large Indian population. With passing years, the celebrations have altered according to the local traditions and environment of different places.
Lately, in spite of all the fun and frolic, people have started taking into account the environmental impacts of Holi. Synthetic colors that have adverse impacts on human skin and the environment have been replaced by eco-friendly herbal colors. People are moving towards a ‘dry Holi’ in areas where there is a water shortage. Also, events that trivialize the spiritual significance of the festival for commercial gains are being checked, to ensure that it stays true to its roots, and the spirit of love and unity in diversity that it so wonderfully embodies.
From water balloons filled with color to pichkaris releasing a stream of color, this is a delightful event marked by the exchange of gifts and mouthwatering sweets. The joy of Holi knows no ends. We must try to wash away all the evils in our hearts along with the colors and allow the color of love to stay there forever and ever. This is the true spirit of Holi. This colorful festival will be observed on 20th and 21st of March. Let's welcome the vibrant festival of colors with joy.