The spirit of Holi It's spirit is uniquely Indian, colourful, exotic, and full of the energy of life. Holi comes alive with the colours of 'gulal'. These are dry colours that are sold days before the festival actually begins. Markets are flooded with heaps of gulal - they are arranged in pyramids and sold loose. Vendors sit on street corners selling gulal to passers-by.
Gulal is made up of many rich colours like pink, magenta, red, yellow and green. 'Abeer' is made of small crystals or paper like chips of mica. This is usually mixed with the gulal to give it a rich shine. These colours can be used dry, or mixed with water.
New brides make a silver or gold colour from powders specially available in the market. This colour is mixed with a little coconut oil and stored in a bottle. It is applied in tiny quantities on the foreheads of near and dear ones, like a 'tilak' or a blaze-like mark.
In the old days, colour for Holi was made at home, from the flowers of the 'tesu' tree. This tree is also called 'the flame of the forest' or 'palash'. The flowers of the latter are bright red in colour and they used to be collected from the trees and spread out on mats, to dry in the sun. Once dried, they were then ground to a fine powder. This powder was then mixed with water to give a beautiful saffron-red colour. The mixture was considered good for health, probably because of the reddish glow it left behind on the skin.
Holi is, therefore, aptly called the festival of colours.
Holi hai bhai holi hai!!! Bura na mano holi hai!! With splash of colored water and bombardment of paint balloons, begins the festivities of Holi in India!! This festival fills everyone with great enthusiasm and zeal. It’s the only festival in India, where no one is bothered about wearing perfect attire with matching accessories. However, there’s one thing about holi that really bothers us. That is the use of harsh chemical based colors.
But, fikar not! Here’s our special guide to help you make eco-friendly colors at home which are 101% safe and natural.
Skin yells!! Save Me
The colors available in cheap packaging in the market are all very harmful for you as well as the Mother Nature. The presence of harsh chemicals like metal oxides and industrial dyes etc. can be detected easily by just smelling them. Another harmful effect of these harsh colors is that they do not wear off easily; resulting in your extended stay at home till the color is completely warded off.
Black (Lead Oxide): Kidney failure, learning disability
Green (Copper Sulphate): Temporary blindness
Purple (Chromium Iodide): Asthma, allergies
Silver (Aluminum Bromide): Carcinogenic
Red (Mercury Sulphite): Skin cancer
Hence, using homemade natural colors are safest as they are easily washable, don’t harm our skin and are extremely economical.
Radiant Red: Red sandal wood powder/ dry red hibiscus petals/rose petals.
Go green: Henna leaves/dry coriander leaves/ dry spinach leaves.
Beaming blue: Dry petals of blue hibiscus/blue gladiolus flower/Indigo (neel).
Sunny Yellow: Kasturi turmeric/ Yellow chandan/petals of marigold flower.
Scintillating Saffron: Dried petals of Palash (Butea monosperma) flower/ Saffron (Kesar)
Vibrant Violet: Beet root juice.
Beaming black: Black grapes/kohl (kajal)
Funky Brown: Coffee powder/Tea leaves.
Step 1: Split the petals of flowers and dry them in shade for eight hours daily for 4-5 days (approx.)
Step 2: When the petals are completely dried, grind them in mixers. Sieve this powder to obtain a finer Gulal (Dry Holi color).
Step 3: Augment (add mass) the powder by mixing corn starch/gram flour (besan) to it. Enhance the fragrance of this Concoction by adding powdered kachursugandhi or chandan powder sandal wood).
Step 4: For wet colors, soak the ingredients overnight in water. Next day blend the colors into a fine paste in blender. Add this paste to the desired amount of water and enjoy your Holi without harming your skin and the environment.
Don’t forget to apply oodles of baby oil on skin as well as douse your hair with coconut oil to get rid of any chemical color that you may come in contact by any chance.
You can experiment with different flowers, fruits and vegetables for obtaining varied hues.
Use natural colors and encourage your friends to do the same.
By using natural colors, you help save environment from the toxicity of the chemical colors and conserve biodiversity as well. Promote eco-friendly practices.
Now, you are all aware of the preparations for a safe Holi, and our moral obligations towards Mother Nature just leave behind the stress, let your hair down and enjoy eco friendly Holi.
Let’s paint the world naturally!!
Today, many people may not be aware of this fact that earlier people used to make natural colours for Holi at home, from the flowers of the ‘tesu’ tree. This tree is also called ‘the flame of the forest’ or ‘palash’. The flowers of the latter are bright red in colour and they used to be collected from the trees and spread out on mats, to dry in the sun. Once dried, they were then ground to a fine powder. This powder was then mixed with water to give a beautiful saffron-red color. The mixture was considered good for health, probably because of the reddish glow it left behind on the skin.
But if you have time, then you can make your own natural colors or eco friendly colors at home.
Redcolor: Use red sandal wood powder. Mix powder of dry red hibiscus flowers with any flour will give natural red colour and can be used in place of Red Gulal.
Mixing turmeric powder in water and some few drops of lemon juice will make bright red wet color.
Dry Yellow Color: Mixing turmeric powder/haldi with with double quantity of besan (gram flour) will give us bright yellow color.
Wet Yellow Color: Mix turmeric powder with some water and stir well.
You can use the ordinary haldi or “kasturi” haldi which is very fragrant and has therapeutic effects. Besan can be substituted by atta, maida, rice flour, arra rot (ground nut) powder, fuller’s earth (multani mitti) and even talcum powder.
Another Method: Flowers like Marigold / Gainda ,Yellow Chrysanthemums, Black Babul gives different shades of yellow. Dry the petals of these flowers in shade and crush them to obtain a fine powder. Mix appropriate quantity of the powder with besan, etc. or use separately.
Add one teaspoon of haldi to two litres of water and stir well. This can be boiled to increase the concentration of colour and further diluted.
Soak Marigold / Gainda (Tagetus erecta) flowers in water. Boil and leave overnight.
Boil dried fruits of Amla in an iron vessel and leave overnight. Dilute with water and use.
Extract juice of black grapes and dilute with sufficient quantity of water
Wet Orange Colour: Take Peel of 12 large onions and boil in half liter water. Remove the onion peels. Now you will get an orange color with a light pink shade. Another method is to soak Tesu flowers in water overnight to get yellowish – orange color.
Dry Green Colour: mix mehndi and any flour.
Wet Green Colour: Take four spoons of henna and mix in water.
Another method is dry and finely powder the leaves of Gulmohur tree for a green colour.
Green colour can also be obtained by mixing a fine paste of leaves like spinach / palak, coriander / dhaniya, mint / pudina, tomato leaves, etc. in water.
Wet Magenta Colour: slice or Grate beetroot and soak in one liter water for a wonderful magenta. Boil or leave overnight for a deeper shade and dilute it before use.
Another method:Boil the peels of 10 – 15 pink Onions in half litre of water for an orangish-pink colour. Remove the peels before using to remove the smell.
Wet Brown Colour: Boil tea or coffee in water and cool it and use Kattha ,which is used in pan, when mixed with water will give a brownish colour.
Before going to play Holi apply either casor oil or olive oil on your face, hands and hair.
Apply transparent nail paints/or colored ones on your nails so that your nails don’t get colored.
Men should not shave a 2-3 days before holi, color will come out easily once you shave.
Make a paste of curd and gram flour and rub it on your face, Wash it off with soap after 5 minutes.
Always use cold water to remove the colors, hot water makes the color fast.
To lighten the color, Rub lemon wedges and then apply wheat flour and oil mixture.