Holi also known as the “festival of colours” is one of the most loved and awaited Indian festivals. This is one festival which is celebrated with great enthusiasm in almost the whole country. Playing with colors is the most joyous part of the Holi celebrations. They add life and vitality to the festival making it most vibrant of all.

Since this year due to COVID-19 there are a lot of restrictions placed on the celebrations. Nevertheless, there are plenty of ways in which the children can have fun and celebrate the festival of color this year too.

  1. The legends associated with the festival.

So this Holi make a splash with the out-of-the-box ideas that go beyond tradition.

Revisit the mythology and the legends associated with the children. Tell them about the significance of the festival and the different ways it is celebrated in various parts of the country.

According to Bhagvat Puran, King Hiranyakashipu, king of the demons, subjected his son Prahlad, a devotee of Vishnu, to cruel punishments. His aunt Holika also tricked him to sit on a burning pyre with her but got burnt herself instead. And that’s how the Holika bonfire signifies the “victory of good over evil”. 

Holi celebrations start on the night before Holi with Holika Dahan, where people perform rituals in front of a bonfire, praying for their inner evil to be destroyed, just as Holika was killed in fire.

The carnival of colors begins the next morning, where people come out on the streets to play with colors, and drench each other in colored water through water guns or balloons.

In Braj Holi is celebrated as the “festival of love”.  As a child, Lord Krishna was distraught at his dark skin tone. Smitten with Radha, Krishna was convinced that she wouldn’t reciprocate his feelings owing to his complexion. At his mother’s behest, he asked Radha to color his face with whichever color she’d like it to be. Legend has it that Radha did apply color to Krishna’s face, and they fell in love. It is this celebration of Radha and Krishna’s love which forms the other significant historic basis for the festival of Holi

A popular form of Holi, called “Lathmar Holi” is celebrated in Barsana, a town near Mathura, in Uttar Pradesh, where women beat up men with sticks, as those on the sidelines chant ”Sri Radhey” or ”Sri Krishna.”

 In Maharashtra, it is the time of Matki Phod (breaking the pot). Men climb on top of each other to form a human pyramid up to the height from which a pot of buttermilk is hung. The one who breaks the pot is named the Holi King of the year.

In Vrindavan, widows and estranged women immerse themselves in colors on Holi.

In Punjab, Sikhs revel in colors on Hola Mohalla, which is celebrated a day after Holi.

In West Bengal and Assam, Holi is known as Basanta Utsav or spring festival.

2. DIY – Do It Yourself

a. Paint a wall: Dedicate an old wall in the garden or the balcony for the children where they can put their palm prints. These are considered auspicious in many parts of the country, and if done neatly can look very aesthetic too.

b. Tie n dye: The children can use some white t-shirts for making some colourful tie n dye designs. This can be a nice reminder of a different kind of playing with colours on Holi.

c. Enjoy some Holi crafts with kids: you can look to Pintrest for ideas.

3. Décor

a. Fill some transparent bottles with coloured water and place it around the house making a design. You could also mix colours to oil and add to water so that it floats on water making interesting patterns.

b. Hang some colourful dupattas or stoles along with the curtains to have a splash of colour around the house.

4. Food

a. Traditional food: Indulge in the traditional foods of the festival like the gujiyas, malpuas, kachori, dahi vadas, bedmi aloo, kids friendly thandai. Make a few things at home involving the children too.

b. Plan a rainbow meal: with a wide range of colourful ingrediants available make a nice colourful meal too. Ideas: corn and red, yellow, green peppers salad. mint rice, beetroot raita, milkshake with colourful sprinklers, tuti-fruit cupcakes to name a few. Let your imagination run wild here.

5. Gifts

We can’t meet and play Holi, but we can definitely send gifts to all loved ones.

You can have dried flowers, rose, marigold and send in small potlis as colours. Send some fresh seasonal produce of colourful fruits and vegetables to the seniors in the family. Make some chocolates and cookies wrapped in colourful wrappers to be sent to friends and cousins.

Do not let the COVID-19 dampen the spirit of your Holi.

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