Holi is the highlight of the spring season every year. Evidently, the festival is also celebrated with great passion to emulate the blossoming colours of spring that you see all around in nature during that time. Streets are painted with the most vibrant hues to welcome the fresh season and everyone loves to play in the water to counterbalance the warming temperatures.
But while we try to recreate the rainbow of colours that nature graciously lets us observe, we seldom take notice of the havoc we wreak on our environment in the process. Water wastage during Holi has become one of the major concerns for the country, the colour powders used during the festival are toxic for humans and animals alike, and the ritual to burn firewood at night results in deforestation and air pollution that goes widely unchecked.
All these misgivings should not only encourage us to reflect on the ways we celebrate the festivals in our country but also take action to reconstruct these practices and traditions keeping in mind the declining status of our planet and the living beings who reside on it.
Changing the ways you celebrate Holi, then, constitutes an important aspect to become more environmentally responsible and take charge of doing your part in keeping the environment green and healthy.
Here are 10 ways you can celebrate an eco-friendly Holi:
- Dry Holi
Using water to play Holi has become a widely acknowledged tradition around all parts of the world. Every year, tons and tons of litres of water go to waste due to Holi celebrations.
Moreover, the surface run-off containing water contaminated with toxic colours and other substances used during Holi is a major pollutant and often responsible for ravaging crops and ruining fresh produce.
Therefore, omitting the use of water to play and instead, celebrating a dry Holi is the first step towards restoring the environment, and an easy way one can contribute towards saving the planet.
2. Tilak Holi
With the water scarcity rates rising all over India, with multiple states facing grave water crises, it becomes the responsibility of everyone to make sure that excessive wastage of water is checked and the invaluable resource is used judiciously.
Tilak Holi, in this circumstance, is the best way to celebrate Holi. An ancient tradition, where people greet each other on the festival by smearing organic colour on the forehead, not only saves water from being utilized unnecessarily, it also lessens the pollution that occurs due to the use of toxic chemicals based colours.
3. Use organic colours
Powder colours are a staple of any Holi celebration. After all, the festival of colours wouldn’t be called so if it wasn’t celebrated just as vibrantly!
But the colours usually consumed during the festivals are often produced in factories using toxic and hazardous chemicals that are detrimental not only for humans but animals as well.
Seeing this, many small brands have started developing an organic range of colours that are not only safe for use but also do not cause damage to the environment. Switching to this greener alternative is a simple solution to remain environmentally conscious this Holi.
4. DIY Holi Colours
Organic colours might be an expensive option for those looking to celebrate Holi on a budget this year but still wanting to be eco-friendly. Little do people know that you can effortlessly make good-quality colour powders at home with ingredients already available in your kitchen!
Turmeric, Sandalwood, Henna, Pomegranate peels, Beetroot pulp are some of the most popular organic ingredients used to make pigments at home. All you have to do is mix them with wheat flour and you’ll have a variety of powders to celebrate a colourful Holi with your family.
These colours are not only safe for your skin, but some of them also contain medicinal and healing properties.
5. Flower Holi
Playing a gentle Holi with flowers is a custom in many parts of the country. The Holi played in the Vrindavan region is especially popular for its use of flowers! A tradition of ancient times, it is a colourful yet precious way to celebrate the festival.
Swapping out the use of water and colour for flowers is a unique idea that is bound to impress the attendees at all your Holi celebrations this year.
6. Stop the use of water balloons
The use of water balloons and the like is prominent among children during Holi but the rubber material of the balloons poses a risk to stray animals as well as becomes a major water and soil contaminant, dampening the spirit of the festival that is known to bring joy to the masses.
Therefore, halting the use of water balloons made of non-biodegradable material is not only a safer option to protect animals but is an ethical step for fostering environmental conservation.
7. Opt for no-waste Holi decorations
Markets are brimming with the fanciest decorations and ornaments during Holi but these glamorous adornments frequently make use of non-biodegradable materials such as plastic and aluminium which are a considerable cause of pollution in the country. It is widespread knowledge that plastic can take up to 500 years to break down!
Opting for more eco-friendly editions of these decorations thus becomes crucial to reduce the consumption of plastic and abide by the environmental regulations put in place by the government.
Rather, you can use homemade embellishments made from recycled materials to festoon your house for the approaching festival. These rustic, yet delightful decorations will definitely win everyone over!
8. Burn eco-friendly wastes on Holi
The burning of a bonfire is a Holi tradition to symbolize the triumph of good over evil and has been followed by millions around the country every year. To accommodate this practice, thousands of trees are cut to produce enough firewood, further adding to deforestation which is one of the main causes of global warming.
Moreover, burning wood emits smoke which also adds to the heightening air pollution metrics. Therefore, switching to burning eco-friendly wastes such as cow dung, coconut husk, and camphor significantly weaken the consequences of lighting a bonfire.
9. Avoid the use of irrelevant products
To make Holi more spontaneous and fun, youngsters love to use random items such as eggs and tomatoes to toss at people. Sometimes this impulsive need can also lead to them using toxic substances such as oil paints, grease, and petrol which are extremely damaging for the skin.
Moreover, while food is non-toxic, it causes undue wastage of essential resources which is a mark of reckless behaviour. Accordingly, opting out of using these substances is a safer option for humans and subsequently for the environment as well.
10. Organise a cleaning drive
After you’ve had your fair share of fun during the Holi celebrations, it is time to clean up after yourself to make sure you are not littering the streets or contributing to any kind of damage to the environment.
Taking the initiative to tidy up neighbouring communities by organising a community cleaning drive the day after Holi is the perfect way to have hands-on participation in conserving the environment, making sure you remain a model citizen who can have fun responsibly!