When I got home from a two week Photography Tour in India recently, a dear friend wanted to schedule a long lunch right away so I could share the stories of my adventure while they were still fresh in my mind.
We settled into our seats at a favorite EGR restaurant and I happily told her about the fascinating trip beginning with the Holi Festival. It was certainly the most dramatic and one of most memorable of the daily adventures. Right off the bat, she asked, “What’s the significance of all the colors?
Significance of Color
Hah! Couldn’t answer that. When you go on a photography tour there is less emphasis on learning about the culture as there is about taking pictures of it. We were all obsessed with pointing our lenses at the foreign and fascinating scenes all around. It’s why we signed up. While great fun, it did leave some gaps in my cultural knowledge.
As soon as I got home from our leisurely lunch, I fired up the internet to research her question and this is what I learned.
First, color is really important to the Indian psyche. It’s every where and have significance. But I knew that. Color is a really big deal in India!
For more about color in India, read India: Country of Colors.
White is all about purity but also mourning. It’s the color widows wear. But more about that later. Black is considered ugly, evil and undesirable. It is worn to ward off evil.
People wear and celebrate color everywhere especially at the Holi Festival.
The main colors seen in the Holi Festival are red which reflects love and fertility. Blue is the color of Krishna. Yellow is the color for turmeric, revered because of its medicinal properties and green symbolizes spring and new beginnings.
When I look back at my images of the various events where Holi was celebrated I didn’t see blue paint. Surprised me because in my research I read that Holi started because the supreme Hindu diety, Krishna fell in love with the goddess Rahha but was concerned with the differences in their skin color, his being blue.
His mother advised him to playfully paint her face to overcome their differences.
Whether he did or not, they never married, but their relationship is legendary in the Hindu traditions.
Hope you enjoy some scenes of the Holi Festival in Vrindavan and at the Hola Mohalla where people thronged the streets and temples going mad smearing colored paint on each other……and……haha….on me.
For more photos by Karl Grobl, Photography Tour Leader for the Three Festivals tour, visit Karl’s blog. KarlGrobl.com