Munnar, Kerala is a famous destination for Indian honeymooners, which means it’s not really a place for making lifelong friends. Nevertheless, we met Jatin and Additi, a young couple who changed everything we thought we knew about hospitality, warmth and openness. After a brief five-minute conversation, the pair invited us to celebrate Holi with them. For a private celebration. In Delhi. With their family!
We had never before received an invite as intimate as this, especially after only knowing each other for a few minutes, but in the spirit of Indian hospitality, we happily accepted!
So a few weeks later, there we were, on a rooftop overlooking the streets of Delhi, surrounded by a new family, covered in the colors of Holi. Both of us wondered how lucky we could possibly be to be experiencing this incredible memory. Out of the brightly colored chaos of the streets and into the warmth of an extended family home, we found ourselves fully immersed in the cultural ritual of Holi in India. And it was one of the greatest day of our travels!
For Hindus in India and around the world, Holi is a day of pure celebration, and it’s all about color, fun and joy. Families and friends flock together and to the streets to throw colored powder and water solutions onto each other, laugh, chit-chat, sing anud dance. Holi takes place in March of each year, at the last full moon before the spring equinox. It’s a day to ring in the springtime and saying goodbye to the winter.
Here are a few things to keep in mind if you’re planning on attending Holi:
- Be safe when it comes to colors and be aware of the risks. Today, the issue of synthetic ingredients in some colors sold to the public for Holi celebrations is a real one. Metals and other harmful ingredients have created health issues for those who don’t wash the color away immediately. And as there is no regulation for the production or sale of colors throughout India and other Holi-practicing areas, it is tough to know which colors are safe and which are not.
- Wear clothes that you don’t care too much about if you’re planning to partake in Holi festivities, as you will get dirty. Even if you’re not flinging colors, you won’t want to take the risk with clothes that you care about keeping clean.
- Apply plenty of oil to your hair and even your skin so you don’t have to worry about stains. We saw plenty of people who weren’t as lucky as us and ended up with pink hair and red hands lasting days after the celebration was over. Actually, an added bonus here for avoiding chemicals: natural colors don’t stain. We lucked out with a chemical-free Holi celebration, thankfully. Our hosts used only vegan and organic colors. But we still applied oil (per the suggestion of our hosts) and we were able to wash the colors right off!