Phalgun arrives with the promise of warm days and new life and it is the season of rejuvenation and rebirth. The earth discards its winter gloom and begins to blossom again. As if to mark this change, Holi flings color into Indian landscape and invites the celebration of life.
The spirit of Holi is colour - rich and vibrant, flung into the air and smeared with laughter on friends and loved ones. It recalls, very simply, the secret of life: a shifting panorama of sights, movement and feelings. Colors denote energy - the vivid, passionate pulse of life. Color signifies the vitality that makes the human race unique in the universal scheme. Holi is also the enactment of spring. It is, in a metaphorical sense, changing earth’s dull garb of winter for the fresh blue of the March skies. The bright colors of new blossoms, the brilliance of the summer sun washing everything with its red-gold hues. Holi comes alive with the colors of Gulal .
Markets are flooded with heaps of gulal - they are arranged in pyramids and sold loose. Vendors sit on street corners selling gulal to passers-by. This powder colour is made up of many rich colors like pink, magenta, red, yellow and green. Abeer is made of small crystals or paper like chips of mica. This is usually mixed with the gulal to give it a rich shine. These colors can be used dry, or mixed with water. New brides make silver or gold color from powders especially available in the market. This color is mixed with a little coconut oil and stored in a bottle. It is applied in tiny quantities on the foreheads of near and dear ones like a tilak or a blaze-like mark.
In the olden days, people used to prepare Holi colors at home by using flowers blossomed on tesu tree. For making these colors, the flowers were dried and then grounded to a fine power. The powder was then mixed with the water to produce a beautiful saffron-red color.
While playing Holi, people use various kinds of harmful (chemical) colors which tend to damage their skin. It is adviced that people should use herbal colors which are easy to make and not harmful for the human skin.
Here, we have listed several techniques of making herbal colors so that one can enjoy Holi without disrupting its significance.