How I Celebrate Holi

How I Celebrate Holi

Holi, a festival of colors, is quite a sight: . Colors fly everywhere and people dancing, having the time of their lives. Every household does holi in their own unique way and no one gets left out. In my family, the celebration starts not on the day itself but two days before when everyone takes a train to Varanasi, a city in India where my great-grandmother lived. There’s always a feast laid out for everyone, and the excited chatter and reunions leave everyone cheery. The two days leading up to holi go by fast, with everyone planning how to cover someone with the maximum amount of color, or how to avoid being covered in color. The night before, we all gather around a bonfire that signifies the defeat of evil and the start of spring.  However, the real fun is early the next morning when all the sons and grandchildren of the entire extended family  get up and prepare the “stuff” we use to “destroy” the wives of the family in the epic game of holi. Although holi traditionally involves a non-competitive game using organic colors, in my family holi is neither non-competitive nor organic. Instead of using organic colors, we use chemical colors that stay in your hair and teeth for days if not weeks. In addition to the oddly sticky colors, cow dung is a staple ingredient during holi. I know this sounds very different from what most people think holi is, but the “special” treatment of being covered in cow dung is saved just for the brides who get married into my family. It always starts with the newest bride having her teeth brushed with either blue or black coloring, followed by a bucket of dung being dumped on her head. Then, we continue in order of who was married before her all the way to the oldest. After they get cleaned up, we commence with the colors and water and play holi in a way that’s more commonly known in the outside world.  Our celebration doesn’t end there. After everyone cleans up, we all gather around the TV, eat delicious Indian food, and watch whatever cricket match India is playing against Australia or England. In my family, holi isn’t about the colors or the parties. It’s about being together and being shamelessly sly and sneaky with the scores of pranks.



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