Skip to main content

Holi

There are many festivals celebrated in India, throughout the year.  Every region and community celebrates its' own festivals, and the one which has just been celebrated here in north India is 'Holi', a spring festival.  Holi is very much a daytime festival.  It marks the beginning of the summer weather here in India.  It is usually a riot of colour and unconventional behaviour.  One of the traditions is to smear coloured powder on friends and neighbours, sometimes rendering them totally unrecognisable.  Some people, the younger ones especially, go a step further and throw buckets of coloured water over everyone. Many of the children, my own included, use large water pistols known as 'pichkaris', to drown all the members of the household in coloured water.

But this year was different.

Our house was quiet yesterday on Holi.  It was so strange.  I don't remember a single year in the last fifteen when there wasn't riotous mayhem in our house.  Since the death of my father-in-law in January, there have been visitors to our house, non-stop.  But on Holi, for most of the day, not one visitor arrived.  It was astonishing.

The sobriety of this year's Holi was even apparent on the road where we live.  There is usually all sorts of abandoned behaviour on our road.  But not this year.  Our lane was strangely quiet.  Those few houses where Holi was being celebrated had their doors firmly shut.

When I became aware of this, I was puzzled for a while.  Then the light dawned.  Within the last twelve months on our road, four - no five people have died.  Four of them were family heads.  One of them was a daughter-in-law, although her death was a little over twelve months ago.  However, she was followed a few months later by her father-in-law.

So it's not really surprising that the mood was sober on our road.  It seems that death has been prevalent around us for a while.

I pray that the clouds lift soon.  I want to see a wild Holi next year......

Comments

  1. Sorry for the period of mourning in your neighborhood--so many losses! Hopefully a season of joy will follow!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sorry for the loss of your hood. Hopefully next year, you'll have Jolly Holi. Thanks for dropping by on my site. Have a great day!! Surely good season awaits you...

    ReplyDelete
  3. I get the impression that most of Indian holidays are noisy and exuberant. (Ramana mentioned firecrackers used in celebrations.) Is that correct? Are there solemn ones too?

    I'm sorry about all the losses.

    ReplyDelete
  4. How do you keep track of all the festivals? There are so many, and all very different.

    Not sure I would enjoy being douched in coloured water. Do people wear 'Sunday Best' or old clothes?

    ReplyDelete
  5. It must be such a joyful festival. I think it’s a sign of great respect the quietness in your neighbourhood. I think there is too much forgetfulness of other people’s sorrow here in the west. I know it would have lifted spirits up, but sometimes a sign of respect is also such a great thing. I wrote yesterday to a friend “Alla fine il sole torna sempre e asciuga anche la pozzanghera più profonda” which means “In the end the sun always returns and dries up even the deepest puddle”. I hug you!

    ReplyDelete
  6. It is an Indian custom that for one year after a death in the family, festivals are not celebrated. If a mohalla has had more than a few in a short span of time, what you experienced can happen. Don't worry, next year, you can drown in colour.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I think that would be a very fun festival though I would much rather be covered in colored powders that drenched with colored water.

    ReplyDelete
  8. gealikaa, I don't want to sound trite but there's an award for you at mine for your fascinating window on your world.

    ReplyDelete
  9. So interesting. I am sure that next year will be as full of life as the previous years.

    ReplyDelete
  10. You poor thing! No one should suffer abuse as you have. It is hard, though when you are under attack. Please don't let this woman's "bad mood" affect you. You did nothing that all of us have done a time or two. Gimmie her name and I will, along with big brother, straighten her out!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Rmana - thank you for that insight. That makes a lot of sense.

    Is a certain deity associated with this holiday or is it purely seasonal?

    Stopping by from SITS.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Happy Saturday Share Fest! Love SITS!

    vist my blog at:www.twin-talk.com

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Thanks for visiting me. Please let me know you were here

Popular posts from this blog

The Climate in my Hometown LBC Post

I am originally from Dublin in the Republic of Ireland. We have a maritime climate, neither too hot nor too cold. Cool, wet winters and warm summers.  We get the odd freak weather condition, like several feet of snow, once in a while to make life interesting.  Pretty ideal really.  

Now I reside in Lucknow in north India. In the Indo-Gangetic plain.  Cold dry winters, roasting hot summers and a humid rainy season.  It seems like it's always too hot or too cold. Or too humid. Humidity is something I dread.  It brings itching, rashes and all of that.  Okay, too hot will work for me. So will too cold (although I hate dry cold, that's energy-sapping). But humidity is .......not at all good. And that's a euphemism if ever there was one,. 

I wish to dedicate this post to my beloved and erudite rakhi brother Rummuser, who suggested this topic.

And thanks to freedigitalphotos.net for the above illustration, 'Paper Weather Icon Illustration' by SweetCrisis.

The Loose Blogging C…

Kipling Got it Wrong! Or Eastern and Western Culture - Reflections

What Is Culture?
I’m opening this blog post with a question. What is that elusive concept which is commonly known as ‘culture? Culture is way of life. How we live. What our values are.  Our customs, attitudes and perceptions. And also, I suppose, how we express ourselves in art through, such as music, dance, theatre and cinema.  It’s quite a comprehensive area and not too easy to define, really.



The Journey
I was born in what is commonly known as ‘the west’. I lived in Ireland for the first thirty years of my life. When I was thirty, I married my husband and came out to India to live here with him. That was the beginning of an interesting journey, which is still evolving. I must have had some east/west comparison stereotypes in my head. But in India, I found that the people I met had huge stereotypes in their heads about what they called ‘western culture’ and ‘western way of life’. Not long after I arrived in India, I was struck by the number of people who said things to me like ‘in the …

Impatience

Many years ago, when I lived in Dublin, I met someone nice and started dating. I wasn't serious, I just thought we could have nice interesting discussions about India, which I found absolutely fascinating, as I was working in the Embassy of India back then. I had no intention of getting attached with a foreigner, with all the attendant cultural problems. I was happy living in Ireland and the idea of marriage couldn't have been further from my mind.

We both thought we could just keep things in control. One day, after a lot of emotional turmoil and denial, it hit us both that we were in love. Truly. Madly. Irrevocably. To the point where we couldn't live without each other. I'd known about the Indian system of arranged marriages and when it occurred to me that he would probably be married off by his family as soon as he returned to India, I felt physically ill at the thought. We are both tenacious and patient people. We realised that bringing our two worlds together would…