In the south of India where I grew up, Holi wasn't celebrated with as much fervor as it is in the northern parts of India. Several stories exist for the origin of this festival, and each one is very interesting. They all have one ending in common though, that it is the celebration of the victory of good over evil.
Traditionally, natural colours and powders were used for the festivities; the bright yellow of turmeric, the brilliant red of kumkum, the healing green of neem, and so on.
Since the change of seasons in the spring usually brings with it colds and other viral infections, this was possibly a way by which people invoked the protective powers of these Ayurvedic herbs to arm them against the germs.
The synthetic powders that have replaced the natural ones to some extent these days are toxic, so it might be wise to go back to the old ways of celebrating Holi!
To celebrate this Festival of Colours, I give you some bright natural colours from Austin. :)
Spring is here! Though spring in Austin is definitely not as much of an explosion of colour as spring in other cities, it does have its own fleeting charm, which I am slowly beginning to appreciate. We lived in Atlanta before moving here, and I loved spring there. I think that part of the country has the most vibrant spring ever, and will do a separate post on that. But in Austin, though one has to look more closely, the beauty is definitely there.
The redbuds were the first to bloom. Their bright pink petals contrasting beautifully with the silver grey bark. This tree in my neighbor's yard was at its peak last week when I took the picture, but is already fading.
Cactus flowers have started to appear.
And so have other small flowers in my front yard - not sure what kind these are.
The bluebonnet is the state flower of Texas and grows in small bunches close to the ground. Their little heads are already nodding along the highways on the grass, and the open spaces are starting to shimmer with a blue haze. Soon we will see them everwhere. It's such a pity that they don't last very long.
More colour is yet to come, before the heat of summer really sets in. I'll leave you with a sample of pictures I took last year, during late spring. This is what we can look forward to.
Happy Holi, everyone!