Spring is here! Flowers are blooming. Pollen is attacking us (I can’t be certain I will survive this season of allergies) and kids everywhere are waiting for the Easter Bunny.
But there is something more exciting than the Easter Bunny. And that’s Holi! होली!
Photograph: Steven Gerner, Flickr, wikipedia
Holi is the celebration of the end of winter and the beginning of spring – the beginning of new things to come. Like many other Hindu holidays, Holi is also the celebration of good over evil. On the eve of Holi, known as Holika Dahan, we lit bonfires. The bonfire represents the demon goddess Holika who is burned with the help of God Vishnu. By lighting a bonfire and making prayers, we cleanse our own souls of the internal demons battling inside.
On the next day, Holi, we celebrate by throwing powdered colors (gulal) in the forms of water guns (pichkaris), balloons, or by hands. It’s a way for little children and adults to have fun and be little again.
In some communities, it’s a day to unwind by doing bhaang, a marijuana drink or getting high. Seriously!
Either way, Holi is loads of fun and is celebrated in many different ways across India. Both Hindus, and non-Hindus, mainly Sikhs, Jains, and Buddhists take part in the fun.
On all good holidays, Holi is full of food as well. Lots of sweets and goodies.
To celebrate Holi with little kids, I’ve put together a list of fun projects and books to enjoy with them.
Smarty Hathy Holi Activity Book
This fun coloring and activity book features information, ideas, and more. Perfect for everyone who wants to know more about Indian culture.
Love, Laugh, Mirch – has super cute splatter sugar cookies your kids will love to make.
Sketchy Desi made colored sugared cookes with crystallized sugar over on brown girl mag.
Download and Printables
The Playful Indian – has two sheets to print out for the kids. The color by numbers is great for older kids, but no matter, all ages can enjoying coloring in.
I created a few printables on my Holi downloads page. It’s the first time I’m making them, so be nice!
Make Your Own Holi Powder
Essentially you can make a type of sidewalk paint that can wash off from your garden and yard.
You have two ways of making sidewalk paint:
1. Cornstarch and food coloring – You’ll need a few large containers of cornstarch and food coloring. Mix a few drops of coloring into 2 cups of cornstarch. If you mix this with water, you get “paint” which the kids can do on the sidewalk or driveway.
Fair warning, this mixture may not come out easily from concrete pavers because of their porous surface. Test it out first before letting the kids go wild.
2. Smashed Chalk – Grab a few crayola chalk boxes (I recommend at least 4 color boxes), smash them up, and the let the kids go wild. Since these chalks have already been tested on just about every surface a small child can find, they will wash out easily.
To make it more, give you kids small mallets and let them smash the chalk. Then move the powder to bowls. To make it easy to transfer, lay down paper on the ground (do it outside!), then let the kids smash the chalk on the paper. You can then lift the paper and easily transfer to a bowl.
Again, if you add water to the chalk powder, you get “paint”, a second win for the little ones to go wild.
Let’s Celebrate Holi! Book 3 of the series, Let’s Celebrate Holi is a fun introduction to the holiday.
Festival of Colors – Created by mother/son duo Surishtha Sehgal and Kabir Sehgal.
Amma Tell Me About Holi! – Also available in Hindi, this illustrious book is another good read for young children. The rhyming is a bit forced, and sometimes awkward in places, so you may need to find your own substitutions.