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Spring is for new beginnings
Q: How do you choose to welcome spring into your life?
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One of my most anticipated birthday gifts during the month of February comes from a tree. We have an almond tree in our front yard and every year I eagerly wait to see it blossom and hope that it is in full bloom on my birthday. Driving into my front yard each day and observing the tree change from barren branches to soft white-pink flowers brings me joy and reminds me that spring is coming - a time for new beginnings.
This week we celebrate Holi - a Hindu festival that heralds the arrival of spring with bright colors and festivities. Growing up I was exposed to Holi for the first time at the age of seven when I moved to India from the UK. I hated it! The spectacle of seeing strangers smear each other with color and pour colored water on each other made me lock myself in my house and refuse to venture out.
I only began to appreciate Holi once I moved to the Bay area in my twenties and started to celebrate it with friends. It's an occasion for all of us to come together and revel in fun play with colors and water while relishing yummy food and drinks and dancing to Indian music. When else do we get to have a loud party in the middle of the day and look like crazy people?
As a kid, growing up in India, Holi was my favorite festival. I loved filling up water balloons and going up to the terrace with my brother and cousins and throwing them at unsuspecting strangers walking past our street. It was the one time I could be naughty without getting into trouble.
As the only Indian parent in little A’s preschool class, I get the honor of sharing a bit about Indian culture every time a festival comes around. This morning I had the opportunity to talk to her class about Holi. I only had a vague recollection of the meaning behind Holi and memories of going to a massive bonfire the night before. Given the task at hand, of explaining Holi to a class of multicultural four year olds I spent a little time looking into the meaning and history behind one of India’s most popular festivals.
Holi celebrates the arrival of Spring in India, the end of winter, and the blossoming of love, and for many, it is a festive day to meet others, play and laugh, forget and forgive, and repair broken relationships. The festival is also an invocation for a good spring harvest season.
The celebrations start on the night before Holi. On the full moon night, people come together and ignite a bonfire as an act of ridding oneself of evil thoughts and intentions. Fire is believed to be a symbol of purification.The next day, people embark on a new beginning with colors and festivities.
I loved reading a book about Holi with little A’s classmates and seeing the joy on their faces as they played with color.
I hope this post serves as a reminder for us to take the time to welcome spring into our lives and make space for new ideas to emerge.