Rashmi Ranjan

Holi is one of the most celebrated and revered Hindu festivals of India. The festival of colours is truly a symbol of Unity in Diversity as it binds all with love and brotherhood across all lines of society like none else. 

The fervour of this festival appeals equal participation and evokes joy as much as among the haves as the have-nots.\

However, many believe and feel disappointed that the festival is losing its charm due to several reasons including social cohesion, busy work schedule and excessive use of chemical colours.

Though the demand for organic colours in markets has witnessed a many-fold rise due to being non-toxic in nature, the style of celebration has somehow lost its charm these days.

What People Say About Holi Celebrations

Gourav Das, a resident of Cuttack said, “We used to play Holi with great enthusiasm in our childhood. The celebration with friends and relatives used to last for hours. But with the passage of time, the style of our celebration has changed. The celebration is now confined to the family only. Most people are celebrating the festivals of colours among their family members and by relishing traditional Odia delicacies. Besides, many are not feeling safe to go outside and play Holi due to excessive use of chemical colours causing infection.”

“If I compare how we used to celebrate Holi in our village when I was a child and the celebration now, they there is a huge difference. Earlier, mass feasts were organised in the villages to reunite everyone. But, now due to lack of social cohesion, it is a dream now.  Most of the people are settled in the cities for their occupation. When they return to the village, that bonding and affection are found missing,” said Simarani Chand, a resident of Jagatsinghpur.

What Vendors Say

Rabi, a trader in Bhubaneswar said, “Every customer visiting the store is asking for herbal colours. As customers are reluctant to buy chemical colours, we are selling herbal colours only. The herbal colours also provide a variety of options to the customers and most importantly they are made in India.”

“The sale of colours has gone down as the cost of organic colours is expensive as compared to chemical ones. However, the availability of a variety of toys like water guns, masks, and wigs has attracted the kids to the store. But, parents are reluctant to buy the chemical colours fearing skin allergies,” said Muna Sahoo, a shop owner said.

What Health Experts Say

“Everyone loves to play Holi. But excessive use of chemicals in the colours has an adverse impact on the skin. So it is better to use herbal colours made up of flowers and other natural products to avoid skin infections. One should apply coconut oil to his/her skin before playing Holi as it reduces the chances of skin infection due to chemical colours,” said Dr Partha Mohapatra, Dermatologist.