Imagine a world without colour.
The majority of us don’t actually realise the effect that colour has on our body and minds. Science has proven that the human body experiences actual physiological changes when exposed to particular colours and, though other times of year do of course have their colour associations, the season for vibrant multicolour is always summer – when else can you (maybe, just about…after a jug or two of Pimms) get away with a hawaiian shirt?
This summer of colour is being celebrated all around the country with various events but one particular gathering taking place in London this weekend springs immediately to mind so, for those who are interested, here’s the back story to a festival you might otherwise think is just an excuse to get messy…
Originally a spring festival of fertility and new life, the name ‘Holi’ derives from the Hindu legend of Holika and Prahalad. In a nutshell, Holika (an evil demon) attempts to murder the king’s son (Prahalad) but – with a little help from God Vishnu – ends up burning herself to death instead. It is from this tale that we get not only the name of the festival but also one of its lesser known traditions. The evening before the real mischief begins, under the light of the full moon, there is widespread burning of large bonfires – some of which carry an effigy of Holika to act as a reminder that those who seek to torment the faithful will be destroyed.
The familiar moral of the story is that good will always win over evil, a belief that is the backbone to the fun and good humour of the celebration we know Holi for best – covering each other in colour! Strict rules between genders, ages and castes are abandoned for the day as powdered colour (gulu) is thrown and coloured water from pistols (pichkaris) is squirted by anyone, at anyone, with no offence taken. An exuberant festival, Holi is a great leveller and brings people together through the joy of colours and love.
For those who would prefer to stay a little cleaner and avoid the big smoke, why not head down to Margate and enjoy #summerofcolour currently showing at the Turner Contemporary gallery. This excellent exhibition (we’ve been, it’s great) is inspired by Piet Modrian, an artist whose love of colour changed painting. With the Margate Soul weekend and annual Margate Carnival all kicking off this Friday the town will be it’s own little festival of colour. With the aim, like Holi, of bringing people together through an appreciation of music, art, colour and a good time. After all, in Modrian’s own words: “Art is not made for anybody and is, at the same time, for everybody”.
Bring a bit of colour into your office this summer with a Leuchtturm191 or, Castelli Tucson notebook; between them they cover the whole rainbow. Talk to us today about the colour you want this summer!
Holi festival photo credit – Steven Gerner