2014.04.08 Holi Smokes

The access routes to Stanford University were packed with people over the weekend for a two day celebration of Holi, the Indian festival of colors. The results of such activities can be seen here and put a literary spin on the term "colorful event".

To me, it looks like a pretty amazing party. What is it with colors and spring? Coloring Easter eggs relies on the same ingredient - food grade colors. Colors that spell Jubilation!

One of the interesting side effects of moving to another country is that they celebrate different holidays - or in this case Holi-days - with which you have no prior experience.

An interesting side effect of moving to USA is that they seem to celebrate every major holiday anybody can dream up. With 96 languages spoken in California, some group will celebrate their traditional holidays which exposes us to Aztec dancing, Native American Pow Wow, St. Patrick's Day,..., and Holi.

At times I wonder if the people to whom these holidays actually have a sacred connotation might feel offended, when heathens like us partake in the festivities. But then again, I wouldn't stop any kid from an Easter egg hunt. Perhaps the Jubilation! part is the more, the merrier?

We had a discussion in the family on where the fine line goes between fun and vandalism after junior came home from a Holi party at a friend's house. Although the party took place in the back yard, I am aghast that the parents would have this mess. I suppose that for traditions one grew up with, one is prepared for some inconvenience.

Junior came home wrapped in a blanket to spare the car seats and his pants will never be pants again - except, perhaps, for attending similar parties next year.

Some of the teenage party traditions I grew up with included serious amounts of alcohol and usually somebody who "couldn't hold his liquor".

It didn't seem odd back in the old country. Now that I have become Americanized, I actually don't mind that beer is not flowing quite as liberally and that the kids can leave a party in a straight line by their own two feet.

I am sure American parents - any parents - much prefer to wrap their colorful teenagers in a blanket after a party rather than pick them up with glassy eyes and the risk of somebody getting sick in the car on the way home.

In this case the only reminder the next day came out with the bathwater - and then, of course, the laundry...

P.S. From one of my many colleagues from other parts of the world, Hemant Rangen, I have this description of Holi: "Holi - the legend is that Lord Shiva was in a meditative trance and the gods wanted to wake him up to get him married to fulfil his life experience. So Kama the god of love shot his arrows at Shiva to wake him. Shiva angrily opened his third eye and burnt Kama to ashes. The gods pleaded with Shiva to relent since the death of Kama meant the death of desire and all progeny. Shiva relented and revived Kama and agreed to get married too. Symbolically, Kamas death meant that all colour was lost in the world. His revival meant all colour came back. Hence the colours of Holi....."