Monday, March 13, 2006

Holi - Its significance + how to make your own Natural Colours

I have received this beautiful piece of information from NIC. Please read, implement and educate your relatives, friends, colleagues and neighbours. Thanks.

Nature Information Centre
Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Borivali (East),
Mumbai:400066.
Phone: 3097 2620
E – MAIL: nicsgnpDELETETHIS@vsnl.net

HOLI – 15th March, 2006
Holi is the festival of Spring, the festival of romance, the festival of the triumph of good over evil, a festival of colors and festival of fun and pranks. The festival is celebrated on the full-moon day of Phalguna, though it stretched up to a week in Northern India and six-day long in Manipur. As the tradition goes all the people gather around on a day before the Holi as we know it, it is the evening of bonfires. People light up bonfires of dead leaves, twigs and sticks and people dance and sing around it to welcome the Spring and commemorate the saving of Prahlad and burning of his wicked aunt Holika. People take embers from this holy fire to rekindle their own domestic fires.

Biological Significance
It is interesting to note that the festival of Holi is significant for our lives and body in many other ways than providing joy and fun. We also need to thank our forefathers who started the trend of celebrating Holi at such a scientifically accurate time and also for incorporating so much fun in the festival.

As Holi comes at a time of the year when people have a tendency to feel sleepy and lazy, it is natural for the body to experiences some tardiness due to the change from the cold to the heat in the atmosphere. To counteract this tardiness of the body, people sing loudly or even speak loudly. Their movements are brisk and their music is loud. All of this helps to rejuvenate the system of the human body.

Besides, the colours when sprayed on the body have a great impact on it. Biologists believe the liquid dye or Abeer penetrates the body and enters into the pores. It has the effect of strengthening the ions in the body and adds health and beauty to it.

There is yet another scientific reason for celebrating the Holi, this however pertains to the tradition of Holika Dahan. The mutation period of winter and spring, induces the growth of bacteria in the atmosphere as well as in the body. When Holika is burnt, temperature rises to about 63oC. Following the tradition when people perform Parikrima (circumambulation or going around) around the fire, the heat from the fire kills the bacteria in the body thus, cleansing it.

The way Holi is celebrated in south, the festival also promotes good health. For, the day after the burning of Holika people put ash
(Vibhuti) on their forehead and they would mix Chandan (sandalpaste) with the young leaves and flowers of the Mango tree and consume it to promote good health.

Traditionally, only natural colors prepared from flowers and herbal products were used but today, artificial colors have taken over. Now people often use colored foams and balloons filled with chemical-based colored water.

Plants which can be used for preparation of natural colours.

Colours: Plants and their parts

Red, Pink :
Rajgira (inflorescence); Beet (root); red amaranth, teak, henna (leaves); Tomato, Kokum, Strawberry, Cherry (fruits), shoe flower, Palash, Erythrena, Silk cotton
(flowers)

Yellow:
Turmeric (roots); Marigold, Yellow Champa, Gulbakshi/4'oclock plant
(Flowers)

Green:
Spinach, Neem, Turmeric, Marigold, Mint (leaves)

Blue
Barleria/ Koranti, Gokrna

Saffron
Prajkta/Bela (stalk of the flower); Bixa/Aneto (seeds)

White
Gokerna, Gulbakshi, Shoe flower (flowers)

Method :
1. Clean all the fruit/flowers/roots/leaves then chop them and grind them into the mixer.
2. Put adequate water into the mixture and strain it through strainer. Your coloured water is ready!
3. Grind remaining part into the mixer again, and then add some ubtan. This colour you can use to apply on skin instead of chemical colours.

All these colours are neutral and do not cause any ill effects on human body.

Chemical colours and their bad effects -

Colour: Chemical/ Chemicals : Bad effects on the body

Black
Lead oxide
Damages kidney/excretory system, Adversely affect on physical and mental growth of a child, numbness.

Green
Copper sulphate
Eye allergy, swelling, temporary blindness.

Silver
Aluminum bromide
Causes Cancer

Blue
Copper
Skin diseases, ill effects on eyes, respiratory system, liver and nervous system.

Red
Mercury sulphate
Highly poisonous, dangerous, causes skin cancer, ill effects on liver, kidney and nervous system.

Violet
Jention violet
Skin diseases and allergy. Highly dangerous in concentrated form. May cause temporary blindness.

Pink
Asbestos, Siliqua
It has chemical that causes cancer, may cause respiratory disorders such as Asthma, Tuberculosis.

Gulal
Iron, Chromium, Cadmium.
Fever, Asthma, Pneumonia. Skin may become sensitive towards sunlight.

2 comments:

Deepali said...

It is a shame that natural colours are now so hard to find. My grandmother would tell me how in her days everyone made natural ones [at home] and didn't use holi to pollute the environment more.

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