Part 1: The influence of culture

In my previous post ‘It’s okay to be you’, I had mentioned that my love for colour originated from the Indian culture. I not only find blog writing therapeutic but it has made me realise how much the Indian culture has influenced my colour choices. Being born and brought up in London, I have to admit I’ve embraced the western culture more, but my blog, ‘Shee Wears Colour’ has made me reflect on how lucky I am to have two cultures.

For me, India is the most colourful place in the world and I’ve been fortunate to have visited the country a few times. You’re surrounded by bold and bright colours everywhere from the places you visit, the clothing you wear or things you touch and eat. I would like to share the colours associated in religious festivals, temples, spices, and fashion in a series of posts.

Religious festivals –

Diwali and Holi are my favourite festivals not only because of the vibrant colours but also, I love the meaning and what it signifies. Holi is known as the ‘festival of colours’ where people gather to celebrate love and life, good over evil at the beginning of spring. Bright coloured powder is thrown and people wear white clothing which makes the colours visible. People get together, play music and have a great time. It’s a festival filled with laughter and joy.

Diwali is known as the ‘festival of light’ when good defeats evil and light overshadows darkness. The story behind Diwali which I will explain briefly is about Rama who married a princess called Sita and was banished by his stepmother along with his brother Lakshman to live in the forest. During their time in the forest, Sita got kidnapped by a demon king called Ravana. Rama fought Ravana along with his brother and Hanuman (the king of the monkey army) to rescue his wife. After defeating Ravana, they returned to the kingdom after 14 years in exhile. They travelled back to the kingdom in darkness and people lit divas (lamps) to show them the path home. The festival of light is celebrated every year to remember the heroic story of Rama and Sita. People light candles and divas inside and outside their homes and colourful fireworks outside. Divas are also decorated at temples and I always light one at the temple every year. It’s a quite remarkable view at night, as all you see is shining bright lights and you get the sense of peace in the air.

Diwali is also a time when you welcome the goddess of wealth, Lakshmi to your home and give Indian sweets to relatives.

Both festivals signify good over evil and colour, which all together is peace in my eyes, and puts a smile on my face.

Raksha Bandhan

Rasksha Bandhan is also known as ‘rakhi’ which is celebrated in August. This is a special festival because it represents the bond and love between a brother and sister (or someone you treat as a sister or brother). You’re probably thinking how? So, please keep reading on…

The sister ties a rakhi, which is a colourful sacred thread on her brother’s wrist to symbolise her love and his protection. She will say a prayer wishing him happiness and prosperity while rotating an aarti tray around his face with a candle to signify light over darkness, a rakhi, red past to mark on his forehand and sweets. Gifts are also given. The sister brings Indian sweets whilst her brother usually gives money. You can buy rakhi in various colours at numerous stalls but for me making my own rakhi for my younger brother makes it special for me.  

rakhi

Stayed tuned for my next blog about colourful temples and gods in the Indian culture.

Happy reading!

Neelam 🙂 X

*All pics are from Pixabay

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s