Holi is a festival that is celebrated in India with a lot of zeal and enthusiasm. It is a very ancient festival and also known as Holika or Rang Panchami. There are many mythological stories associated with this festival. The most famous one is that of Hiranyakashyap and Prahlad, in which the latter’s honesty and extreme devotion to God always helps him to triumph over the former, who was egoistic and evil. It is also believed that Holi was played by Radha and Krishna. Krishna used to play a lot of pranks to color Radha and the other Gopis.
During this festival, people from all communities and every strata of society come together, thereby strengthening relationships and encouraging secularism in our country. As a tradition, everybody is supposed to forget their differences and shake hands with their enemies too, when celebrating this colorful and joyous festival. This festival truly celebrates the spirit of brotherhood and unity.
In ancient times, the leaves and flowers of some specific plants that imparted color were used to make Holi colors; but as these plants became scarce or got extinct, artificial colors, dyes, and paints replaced them. Synthetic colors can be harmful or even hazardous to our health. The dry colors are often made up of asbestos or silica, which can cause asthma, skin diseases, and eye problems. The wet colors mostly use Gentian violet as a color concentrate, which can cause skin discoloration and dermatitis.
The safest way to play and enjoy Holi to its fullest is to use herbal colors or homemade colors. To prepare a red herbal color, mix red sandalwood powder with water or soak red hibiscus flowers overnight. Henna or mehndi leaves, if dried, powdered, and mixed with water, can produce a reddish-orange solution. For deep pink color, soak beetroot slices in water. Mix turmeric (haldi) powder with chick pea flour (besan), boil Marigold flowers in water, or soak peels of pomegranate (Anar) overnight to obtain a yellow solution.
A black solution can be made by using black grapes or Indian Gooseberry (Amla). Extract the juice of black grapes and mix sufficient amount of water to it so as to reduce its thickness. To prepare green color, mix three tablespoons of ground fresh Henna leaves in one liter of water and mix it thoroughly. Thus, you are ready with all your herbal colors to play Holi safely. A lot of people are realizing the importance of herbal colors; so, for those who do not have the time to make colors at home, natural colors are also available in the market but at slightly higher prices.