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There are many festivals celebrated in India, throughout the year.  Every region and community celebrates its' own festivals, and the one which has just been celebrated here in north India is 'Holi', a spring festival.  Holi is very much a daytime festival.  It marks the beginning of the summer weather here in India.  It is usually a riot of colour and unconventional behaviour.  One of the traditions is to smear coloured powder on friends and neighbours, sometimes rendering them totally unrecognisable.  Some people, the younger ones especially, go a step further and throw buckets of coloured water over everyone. Many of the children, my own included, use large water pistols known as 'pichkaris', to drown all the members of the household in coloured water.

But this year was different.

Our house was quiet yesterday on Holi.  It was so strange.  I don't remember a single year in the last fifteen when there wasn't riotous mayhem in our house.  Since the death of my father-in-law in January, there have been visitors to our house, non-stop.  But on Holi, for most of the day, not one visitor arrived.  It was astonishing.

The sobriety of this year's Holi was even apparent on the road where we live.  There is usually all sorts of abandoned behaviour on our road.  But not this year.  Our lane was strangely quiet.  Those few houses where Holi was being celebrated had their doors firmly shut.

When I became aware of this, I was puzzled for a while.  Then the light dawned.  Within the last twelve months on our road, four - no five people have died.  Four of them were family heads.  One of them was a daughter-in-law, although her death was a little over twelve months ago.  However, she was followed a few months later by her father-in-law.

So it's not really surprising that the mood was sober on our road.  It seems that death has been prevalent around us for a while.

I pray that the clouds lift soon.  I want to see a wild Holi next year......


  1. Sorry for the period of mourning in your neighborhood--so many losses! Hopefully a season of joy will follow!

  2. Sorry for the loss of your hood. Hopefully next year, you'll have Jolly Holi. Thanks for dropping by on my site. Have a great day!! Surely good season awaits you...

  3. I get the impression that most of Indian holidays are noisy and exuberant. (Ramana mentioned firecrackers used in celebrations.) Is that correct? Are there solemn ones too?

    I'm sorry about all the losses.

  4. How do you keep track of all the festivals? There are so many, and all very different.

    Not sure I would enjoy being douched in coloured water. Do people wear 'Sunday Best' or old clothes?

  5. It must be such a joyful festival. I think it’s a sign of great respect the quietness in your neighbourhood. I think there is too much forgetfulness of other people’s sorrow here in the west. I know it would have lifted spirits up, but sometimes a sign of respect is also such a great thing. I wrote yesterday to a friend “Alla fine il sole torna sempre e asciuga anche la pozzanghera più profonda” which means “In the end the sun always returns and dries up even the deepest puddle”. I hug you!

  6. It is an Indian custom that for one year after a death in the family, festivals are not celebrated. If a mohalla has had more than a few in a short span of time, what you experienced can happen. Don't worry, next year, you can drown in colour.

  7. I think that would be a very fun festival though I would much rather be covered in colored powders that drenched with colored water.

  8. gealikaa, I don't want to sound trite but there's an award for you at mine for your fascinating window on your world.

  9. So interesting. I am sure that next year will be as full of life as the previous years.

  10. You poor thing! No one should suffer abuse as you have. It is hard, though when you are under attack. Please don't let this woman's "bad mood" affect you. You did nothing that all of us have done a time or two. Gimmie her name and I will, along with big brother, straighten her out!

  11. Rmana - thank you for that insight. That makes a lot of sense.

    Is a certain deity associated with this holiday or is it purely seasonal?

    Stopping by from SITS.

  12. Happy Saturday Share Fest! Love SITS!

    vist my blog


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