A cloud of yellow. A burst of pink. A mist of blue. A moment of green. If you could visualize this, you probably pictured the colorful festival of Holi celebrated in India and a few countries around the world.
Holi is the harbinger of spring, which marks the departure of winter and the arrival of summer. It is celebrated on a full moon day in the Hindu month of Phalgun. This occurs in February or March according to the Gregorian calendar, the one the majority of the world follows.
Today, we’re going to dive into this rainbow universe and discover how colors were made in ancient India.
Holi has been played since the time of Lord Krishna, which is approximately 5,000 years. Back then, powder colors were made from natural sources:
Yellow: Turmeric powder, yellow chrysanthemum flowers, marigold, gram flour, etc.
Green: Dried leaves of Gulmohar tree, spinach, herbs, and rhododendrons
Red: Rose, the bark of crabapple tree, pomegranate, red sandalwood, flowers of tesu tree, hibiscus flowers, etc
Saffron: Tesu flowers, barberry, and mixing lime with turmeric powder
Blue: Indian berries, indigo, blue hibiscus, grapes, and jacaranda flowers.
Brown: Dried tea leaves, katha, and red maple trees
Besides being pleasing to the eye and bringing Holi alive, the use of natural colors also has a scientific purpose: cleanliness! Many people didn’t bathe during the winter because they either feared the cold or simply became lazy. Rubbing medicinal herbs like turmeric can kill dirty body germs and also force the person to finally bathe!
But this trend changed and Holi colors were being made with the use of strong chemicals and harmful substances to meet high demand. Fortunately, with increased awareness, safer materials and natural colors are now returning.
For example, some companies in Hathras city (India), one of the largest powder color producers in the world, use white cornflour and dyes to produce vibrant colors.
And since the public has become cautious about skin and the environment, they’ve created a demand for herbal colors made from plants.
Do you like playing Holi?