23.03.2011 17.Adar ll, 5771
The column that brings you food festivals from around the world; find out why Hindus painted themselves all the colors of the rainbow.
If you happen to live near any sizable Indian communities, you might have seen something a bit unusual on March 19. To be more specific, don’t be surprised if you see a purple person walking down the street. It doesn’t mean that they've just escaped from the nearest Willy Wonka factory. Actually, the reason that many Indians will be purple (or red or orange or blue or green or pink or yellow) on that day is because they'll be celebrating Holi, the “Festival of Colors.” Although the holiday is known by various names depending on region, it is celebrated by Hindus throughout India, Sri Lanka and Nepal, as well as in other areas around the world where there are large Hindu populations.
One of the main activities on this holiday is “playing” Holi, which basically means running around and trying to drench friends and family in as many colors as possible. This is accomplished by throwing colored powder, and using giant syringes and water balloons filled with colored water. The festival of Holi has its origins in mythological legends but in modern times it is seen as a way to celebrate life and the coming of spring….