Around March every year, the festival of Holi fills the air with colours in India but the colours are also moving to western lands. Let's not forget Coldplay's fabulous music video of Hymn For The Weekend released two years ago featuring Beyonce which showed people getting high on the music and playing Holi in the background. This festival which has its roots embedded in Hindu culture and has been backed by many mythological stories which celebrate the victory of 'good' over 'evil. This is done by burning Holika and smearing colors on all over a loved one's or even a stranger’s face and say, "Burana mano Holi hai!" So this year, let's practice what we preach and celebrate Holi in an eco-friendly way. Here are a few ways in which you can make this year's Holi eco-friendly without compromising on any of the fun.
Burn Holika In An Eco-Friendly Way
Delhi has been suffering poor air quality for quite some time, but lately, with joint efforts from its occupants and weather favouring the cause, the pollutants in the air have substantially reduced. Let's not mess this up again by burning tiers, plastics, chemically-treated woods, or any other toxic substances. Instead, throw in organic and eco-friendly materials. Of course, it’s better if you skip this step completely but we understand if you want to keep in touch with traditions.
Environmentalist Amory Lovins once said "Fire made us human, fossil fuels made us modern, but now we need a new fire that makes us safe, secure, healthy and durable." So now the question arises, what shall we use? As proposed by many notable people and environmentalists alike, using clean, dry and natural materials as a fuel source is the best solution. Traditionally, some people have also resorted to using cow's dung as fuel source. However, using such a method in a city environment may be a bit of a hassle. So, if you are not able to get your hands on some cow dung, do look out for other clean natural elements, such as dry untreated wood to get the fire element going in your bonfire.It’s also a great idea to throw a Holika party where you can call your neighbours and relatives and celebrate Holika by burning one bonfire instead of many. Thus, reducing the level of pollution in the air. This method is literally like having a party to reduce air pollution. Now, who wouldn't like that?
How To Make Organic Holi Colours
Are you excited about this year's Holi? If you are, then why don't you start preparing for it now? Start by making organic colors at home. Here are a few recipes that you can use to make eco-friendly gulal.
Take some grounded beetroot and mix it with cornflour. Then, add some water into the mixture till it becomes a thick paste. After that, dry and ground that concoction to end up with magenta-coloured organic Holi colour.
Take some henna and mix it with flour to make dry green organic Holi colour.
Take one part turmeric powder with one part gram flour to make yellow-coloured organic gulal for yourself.
To make blue-colored organic Holi colour, grind dry blue hibiscus flower and then mix it with flour.
Don't just stop there! Substitute the regular plastic water balloons with biodegradable water balloons. I acknowledge that it can be a bit of a costly affair for a packet of just a hundred balloons, but I bet, that it's not an expensive matter considering the health of our environment and our future generation.
Holi without water guns (pichkari) is not the same. Some would even argue that celebrating Holi without pichkari is like celebrating Raksha Bandhan without Rakhi. Or, like listening to the Holi song “Balam pichkari” from the movie ‘Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, without the word ‘pichkari’ in it (no, don’t try singing that in your mind). Sadly, they too are mostly made up of plastic and are harmful to our environment. So if you are determined to celebrate Holi in an eco-friendly way, then you can reuse/recycle old pichkaris or go all DIY on an old plastic bottle. Just make sure you don’t leave them lying around on the streets.
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On Holi day itself, it’s easy to get immersed in the celebrations and forget about the planet. However, if you intend to celebrate Holi in an eco-friendly way, here are some Holi precautions:
Avoid wastage of water. Ideally, it is better if one plays dry Holi, but if you are a person who likes to play with coloured water, then you must set a limit for yourself, like one bucket or two.
You must be sensitive to street dogs and other animals, and if you find anyone causing them harm, stop them. Avoid putting gulal on animals as it irritates their skin. Further, they cannot clean themselves as we can, so later, they end up having skin infections. You can celebrate by feeding them and taking extra care of them particularly for that day.
Now, that you know how to celebrate eco-friendly Holi, go on, get going and start ordering those gujiyas and planning that party. We wish you all a very Happy Holi and hope that this year's Holi becomes one of your most memorable ones.
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