The Vernal Equinox marks the beginning and the end of the Hindu year, the start of spring, and the gathering of the harvest. This year, that day falls on March 20th. This also marks the start of the days of Holi, including the famous “Day of Colors”, which falls this year on March 23rd evening into March 24th.
The Festival of Holi is so ancient that no one can say when it began. But, famously, Lord Krishna “played color” with his beloved Radha in the forest of Vrindavan. Depending on whose dates you go by, that could take us back as much as four thousand years.
Holi is one of India’s most important, and most loved, celebrations. It is a celebration of reconciliation, friendship, and peace.
And those colors that are famously strewn about on that day? What are the colors about?
The colors, we could say, are simply a celebration of Joy.
And there will be a lot of Joy in Jaipur on the 24th, with kids and younger people running through the streets pelting each other with colored powder, spraying each other with colored water, laughing and shouting. And adults, greeting each other affectionately, daubing the faces of friends and relatives, and then sharing special snacks and sweets.
The front grassy space at Mehera Shaw will be festooned with color, as every member of our staff, commences with a preliminary, genteel daubing and greeting, before advancing to the hilarity of pelting and plastering, accompanied by the kind of laughter that requires great gasps of air.
Mehera Shaw has always had a deep connection to color, and Holi makes us aware, again, that human beings intrinsically seem to have a deep thirst for color.
In earlier times, color was largely reserved for the wealthy, in both apparel and decor. As a family advanced upward from poverty, one of the first, and most obvious, outward signs was the donning of color.
In every culture we know of, until maybe very recently, color has been sought and prized.
And it is often against the bleaker landscapes, as though for balance and relief, that we find the
most colorful garb, the brightest prints.
The deeper the thirst the greater the expression.
Western travelers to India often have the experience of becoming so attuned to the intensity of color here, to the joyousness of it, that they don’t want to give it up; they want to bring it home with them.
Mehera Shaw has always been consciously about color, and we have always believed in this connection between color and joy.
People need both.
And Holi brings them both together.
--from the desk of Mark Keller