What is Holi?
Holi is known as the festival of colors. It is all about welcoming spring, the new crops, and all the colors that come out during springtime. This celebration is gaining a lot more attention in the United States.
When is Holi?
Holi is celebrated during the end of the winter season and the beginning of the spring season. The exact date is not known because it is based on the lunar calendar. Each year, Hindus figure out the exact date of Holi by observing the cycles of the moon.
Why is Holi celebrated?
The celebration of Holi is meaningful for several different reasons in the Indian tradition and some of those reasons have to do with Indian mythology and a moral that comes at the end of the story.
One story is about how a boy named Prahlad who was devoted to the Gods. His evil father did not want him to worship the Gods.His father decided to punish him. So, the father told Prahlad’s aunt Holika to take him into the fire. In this story, Holika was the only person that would never be harmed fire—but on this day, the Gods saved Prahlad and Holika was not saved. Prahlad felt bad for Holika and named the festival after her. The moral of this story is that good always triumphs over evil.
Another story is about Lord Krishna who is a blue god. One day he tells his mom how he feels different from everyone else because of his skin color. His mother playfully tells him to throw colors on everyone else too so they are just as colorful as him. By throwing colored powder on one another, he is able to eliminate that difference. So Holi is about creating an equal society so that people from different backgrounds (regardless of skin color, religion, or class) can come together and celebrate. For older children, Holi is a great time to talk about why it is important to eliminate racial discrimination.
How is Holi celebrated?
Holi celebrations are a lot of fun. People usually wear white clothes and throw colored powder or water on one another. They celebrate with family and friends. It is great to play outdoors since the weather is getting warmer.
How can I teach my children about Holi?
This is the one time in the year, when children are supposed to get “messy” with colors. Many cities and universities across the United States have organized events and children are able to throw colored powder on one another (so please do a search for a celebration near you!) Stanford University has a annual celebration that brings thousands of people together from all over the bay area to celebrate.
However, if you can’t find one, here are some things that you can do with children at home.
1. Talk to children about India. Show them where India is on a map and address any misconceptions they may have.
2. Activate background knowledge. Ask children if they have heard of Holi before? Provide them with the background information above.
3. Make Connections. The book It’s Time for Holi! provides all children with an understanding of how Indian families celebrate Holi.
4. Extend your child’s understanding by having them do finger painting at home! Children can use colored paint to create a handprint or footprint. Parents can also help children trace their body on white construction paper and cut it out. Then children can decorate their life-size body cut out by finger painting on it (or you can use brushes or sponges). Children can also add colored confetti, paints, or sand to their design.
5. Create your own “Welcome Spring! Happy Holi!” celebration at home. You can even organize an event to have children throw colored powders or confetti on family and friends in your backyard or a local park.
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