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Happy Holi!

Chandler Resident Dr. Hemant Pandey Opens His Home for a Colorful Celebration

Every March, for the last eight years, Dr. Hemant Pandey hosts a Holi celebration at his home.

“What started as an event primarily for the kids to help them understand the cultural roots has transformed into a large community event attended by over 300 people," he explains. “There are many parts of the country where Holi is not celebrated with vigor. The event at my home allows an opportunity for people from all corners of India to come together and discover the kid in them.”

At this celebration, incoming guests are doused with buckets of colored water. The slow movers are a target for kids, who practice their skills with balloons filled with colored water. The event culminates with Bollywood music and traditional Indian food.

“The event is not for the meek but rather the daredevils,” Dr. Pandey says.

Here, he tells us about this holiday.

Celebrated on a full moon day around the month of March, Holi is a color festival that defines good over evil. It is also tied to the timing of the rice harvest. As the crops and produce mature, they are harvested in February. The agrarian society celebrated the season of successful rice harvest with colors and food.

One popular legend surrounding Holi talks about Lord Krishna, an avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu, pulling a prank on his beloved Radha. Jealous of Radha’s fair complexion, Krishna, who was dark-skinned, smeared her face with colored powder, Gulal, in a playful attempt to make her resemble him.

Over the years, Holi has become one of the most celebrated festivals in India and acts as an event that binds people together. The abandoned throw of colors paints the sky rainbow. The colors do not discriminate and stain all uniformly, be it of any race or status. It is the ultimate symbol of equality and brotherhood.

The concept of colors—Gulal—is borrowed from various sources, including dried turmeric, pomegranate, rose flowers, henna, and Indian berries. They symbolize various aspects of life: red for love and fertility, blue for Krishna, and green for new beginnings.

The entire nation, and now Indians across the globe, come together to celebrate the day as an event full of organic colors, water pistols, and food, and to mark the beginning of the year with joy. The night before, Holika Dahan, sets a symbolic effigy of exhausting your inner tendencies symbolized by the demon Holika. Good triumphs over evil.

The food scene includes Gujiya, a dumpling-like sweet filled with dried fruits and nuts spiced with cardamom. This is paired with a traditional drink called Bhang, which is a milk beverage mixed with cannabis leaves.

Happy Holi.