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! A study conducted found that many of the dyes used during Holi were toxic and carried health threats; two of the colors, including red -- one of the most predominate colors -- were found to be made of carcinogenic chemicals.
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.
Today, we use highly toxic chemical substances to make colours during Holi. Some of these chemicals are purely meant for industrial use. But often the customer is cheated into buying these cheap colors. Most people are also unaware of the components used to make these colors.
To make a quick money some manufacturers are seen to adulterate the colours with diesel, chromium iodine, engine oil, copper sulphate, and glass powder (to add sheen), which is known to cause nausea, headache, breathlessness among other ailments.
The chemical colors are mainly available as paste, powder and watercolor. They are mainly made up of chemicals and heavy metals. Asbetos and silica normally form the base for these colors. Some of the other components used in making the colors like chromium, lead, and mercury are highly harmful.
The chemical colors can cause itching, rashes, allergies and breathing difficulties. People who are allergic to certain substances might find it difficult to breath and stop the itching.
It is also very hard to remove some chemical colors from the skin. In some rare cases, they enter into the body through the skin. Sometimes these colours accidentally enter into eyes and cause reddening and itching.
An easy method employed to produce Holi colors in large scale is to mix colored powder with soft stone dust. You must be aware what happens when stone dust gets into your eyes.
1.Carefully read the instructions on the color packet. Some brands specify that the color is for industrial use. Avoid them.
2.If you examine the color powder carefully you can see glass powder avoid such colors.
3.Try to smell the color and see if it is made using chemicals like engine oil etc
If you are opting for non-packaged color, buy from a reputed shop.
4.Today, there are several branded natural colours. And the best option is to go for the natural colours.
5.Before buying colours take the advice of friends and relatives as they might give valuable advice on from where to purchase and which brand.
6.Use more of red or pink colours which looks good and can easily taken off. Gaudy purple, green, yellow, orange have more harmful chemicals in them and should be avoided
7.If you have time and patience, you can make natural Holi colours at home.
The best places to celebrate Holi in India really depend on what kind of experience you want to have. You'll find activities taking place almost all over India, but they range from traditional temple rituals to modern parties with DJs, bhang, and plenty of colors. See which of these places, with totally different Holi festival celebrations, appeal to you the most.Holi is not the time or place to wear your best clothes; leave your expensive camera in the hotel!
Plan on any clothing, jewelry, and items that you are carrying to become drenched and dyed during Holi. The dyes do not always wash out easily, so plan to keep that color-stained shirt as a souvenir of the festival!
Holi is a very carefree festival that’s great fun to participate in if you don’t mind getting wet and dirty. You'll end up saturated in water, with color all over your skin and clothes. Some of it doesn't wash out easily, so be sure to wear old clothes. It's also a good idea to rub hair oil or coconut oil into your skin beforehand, to prevent the color from absorbing.
As Holi provides an opportunity to disregard social norms and generally "let loose", males commonly take it too far and act disrespectfully.
Local men have become notoriously aggressive while intoxicated in recent years during Holi; their actions can spoil the fun for some traveling women. Read about misbehaving local men during Holi.Single women should avoid going out alone in public places during Holi, as inebriated young Indian guys often pose a safety threat. These males, who have consumed excessive amounts of bhang and other intoxicants, will inappropriately touch women and make a nuisance of themselves. They are usually in groups and can be very aggressive. Incidents of rape also do occur, which makes it important to take proper care during Holi.
If you plan on going out into the streets on Holi, do so early in the morning. Be back in your hotel by midday before the men get too inebriated. Many hotels hold special Holi parties for their guests in a safe environment.
Expect to have colored powder and water rubbed and thrown onto your face, mouth and ears. Keep your mouth shut and protect your eyes as much as possible.
Tips to protect your skin during Holi festival
1.Always use Natural Holi colours.
2.Use a moisturizer on your face and all those parts that are exposed.
3.Use oil or conditioner on your hair before playing Holi. The oil or conditioner will form a thin layer and it will act as a barrier. You can easily remove it with shampoo later.- Use antiseptic cream or lacto-calamine ointment for hypersensitive skins before you start playing Holi
4.If you’re allergic to chemicals, consult your doctor before playing Holi.
5.Avoid water balloons as they can cause injuries.
6.If there is severe irritation, consult a doctor. Don’t attempt self-medication.
7.Apply thick coating of paint on your nails- both in fingers and toes so that they remain protected
8.While removing colours, a cleanser may be used instead of soap, which tends to cause dryness
9.Take a bath much later after the entire Holi celebration is over. Taking frequent baths, washing the face again and again, will ruin your skin. You will also lose hair, for too much soap/shampoo has a drying effect.
10.Use besan mixed with curd and turmeric when u take a bath.It removes the colour easily.
11.Wear full-sleeved t-shirts or shirts and leggings that cover your legs fully, so that your sensitive body parts are not exposed to the harmful chemicals of the colors of Holi. Wearing socks on the occasion is a good idea too.
12.If you are traveling on Holi, keep the car windows tightly shut. It is still better to avoid traveling on the day of playing colors, because you never know, when balloons filled with colors and water might fall onto you
Here are a some more tips and suggestion to make your holi safe and joyous.
1.Play safe. Don't get to boisterous and do not let others to be rude on you.
2.Cover your hair. Make use of hat or caps to protect your hair from being coloured with hard-to-rinse dyes.
3.Make sure that powder or any other product does not get inside your eyes. Eyes are extremely vulnerable on Holi because of their strategic place in body and also because of the use of harmful chemicals in colors these days. Please ensure that your eyes remain protected at all times.
4.Use dental caps to save your teeth from any unwanted stains.
5.Put on your worst clothes so that you won't have to take on the hassles of an immediate washing.
6.Rags like tattered denims and bright shades like black, blue, green, purple are highly recommended.
7.Try to save yourself off from all possible attacks on the face. In case your such attempts fail, keep your eyes and lips tightly shut if you are attacked on your face.
8.If possible avoid going outside your home, atleast for the peak hours of celebration. The premises of your home ensure that you are safe from pouncing hooligans, even friends who can be a little rough on the day.
9.When traveling keep the car windows thoroughly shut, even if you don't have an AC car. Do not bump into the frenzied group of mob if you take to streets. Better you cross the road to the sidewalk across. Or, simply stay at a safe distance.
10.Rotten eggs when thrown on your head, flying missiles from locality buildings…are still not too bad, will be smelly yet is a good conditioner for your hair. But tar, shit, Mobil, stones and all the rubbish that you can be hit with is not. Avoid being a prey to hooligans.
11.Remember you also have police on your side and if any untoward revelers misbehave, you can make your complaint. Mark out the locality, building and if possible the person.
12.Avoid running on jumping on wet floors, so that you don't slip and injure yourself. Bones are specially vulnerable on this day.
13.Avoid over indulgence in bhang, drinks or food... so that you don't repent later.
14.Do not drive if you are high on alcohol or bhang.
Keep handy pain killers, anti-oxidants, anti-allergic tablets if all the above tips have been disregarded.
15.Be ready for emergencies: Keep a list of emergency contacts ready, including those of your paediatrician, closest hospital and ambulance service
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
Till then Bura na Mano Holi Hai!