Holi with Tesu ke Phool
Aside from simply being great fun, the throwing of colors during Holi once had medicinal significance.To counter colds and viruses brought on by the weather change in spring, the colorful powders were traditionally made from natural medicines such as neem and tumeric.Today, most of the colored dye that is thrown during Holi is synthetically produced, and in sharp contrast to tradition, may actually harm one's health rather than help it!The colours of Holi are very special and add to the vibrancy of the day. In the past, the colours that were used on people’s skin were natural but many of them now are man-made and some even of dangerous chemicals leaving some people with skin inflammations.Due to public awareness on harmful effects of chemicals and their hazards on human life, many people avoid products which are made of chemicals.
The history of Holi goes back to thousands of year and it was already in vogue during the time of Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna only added to its glory by playing it with Radha Rani and other female cowherds of Barsana.
Hindus were playing Holi with red and green colors even when the red of Mercury Sulfate (HgSO4) and green of Copper Sulfate (Cu2SO4) were unheard of. Since Vedic time people were playing Holi with herbal colors. Most temples in Braj region use natural color to play Holi. Tesu is one of the most commonly used flowers to create natural color.
Tesu (टेसू) is the Kesar color flower of Palash(पलास) tree.Butea monosperma is a species of Butea native to tropical parts of the Indian Subcontinent. Common names include Palash, Dhak, Palah, Flame of the Forest, Bastard Teak, Parrot Tree, Keshu (Punjabi) and Kesudo (Gujarati). It is seen in all its ugliness in December and January when most of the leaves fall: but from January to March it truly becomes a tree of flame, a riot of orange and vermilion flowers covering the entire crown. Each flower consists of five petals comprising one standard, two smaller wings and a very curved beak-shaped keel. It is this keel which gives it the name of Parrot Tree.
In West Bengal, it is associated with spring, especially through the poems and songs of Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore, who likened its bright orange flame-like flower to fire. In Santiniketan, where Tagore lived, this flower has become an indispensable part of the celebration of spring. The plant has lent its name to the town of Palashi, famous for the historic Battle of Plassey fought there.
In the state of Jharkhand Palash is associated with the folk tradition. Many folk literary expressions describe palash as the forest fire. The beauty of dry deciduous forests of Jharkhand reach their height when most trees have fallen their leaves and Palash is in its full bloom.Palash is also the State Flower of Jharkhand.
It is said that the tree is a form of Agni, God of Fire. It was a punishment given to Him by Goddess Parvati for disturbing Her and Lord Shiva's privacy. In Telangana, these flowers are specially used in the worship of Lord Shiva on occasion of Shivratri. InTelugu, this tree is called Modugu chettu.
In Kerala, this is called 'plasu' and 'chamata'. Chamata is the vernacular version of Sanskrit word 'Samidha', small piece of wood that is used for 'agnihotra' or fire ritual. In most of the old namboodiri (Kerala Brahmin) houses, one can find this tree because this is widely used for their fire ritual.
In Theravada Buddhism, Butea monosperma is said to have used as the tree for achieved enlightenment, or Bodhi by second Lord Buddha called "Medhankara - මේධංකර". The plant is known as කෑල in Sinhala. The trees of Palash are easily found all over India and its parts are used in various products and herbal medicines. However it is popularly known for its flowers which are used to extract yellow color during Holi.
It is believed that Lord Krishna used to play Holi with Tesu flowers and hence most Krishna temples in Mathura and Vrindavan use them to play Holi. There is custom to throw wet colors on devotees who visit temples on Holi. If you are blessed with that scented yellow color while you visit the temple then most probably it would be the concoction of Tesu.
How to make color
Tesu flowers are easily available at various grocery shops which sell other herbs and spices. Tesu flowers cost around Rs. 50-70 per kilogram.
Tesu flowers are soaked in warm water one day before of Holi. On the next day the concoction is used to play Holi. Usually, the rose water, Chandan, Kesar and scents are added to the concoction.
|Natural colors with turmeric and by flowers|
The essence of Holi festival is acknowledging the spirit of oneness and devotion. Drowning in colored water represents ridding yourself of ill-will and hatred and getting intoxicated with love for everyone