Holi: A colorful, centuries-old celebration of Spring

March 19, 2021

Holi: A colorful, centuries-old celebration of Spring

For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, Spring is upon us. The equinox introduces longer days, warmer weather, birth of new life, and is observed with festivals and celebrations all around the world—gatherings at archeological sites in Mexico, Anthesteria in Greece, and Holi in India.

The festival of Holi is an ancient Spring celebration that honors Hindu deities and symbolizes the triumph of good over evil. Taking place on the last full moon of the Hindu calendar, Holi is most widely recognized for its colorful festivities so vividly described by the Vardhana dynasty Indian emperor, Harsha, in his 7th century Sanskrit play titled Ratnavali “[…] the festival which excites curiosity as the townsfolk are dancing at the touch of brownish water thrown...Everything is colored yellowish red and rendered dusty by the heaps of scented powder blown all over.”

Deeply connected to her native Indian culture, Manjusha Jewels’ designer, Joey, finds joy and inspiration in the ancient Hindu ritual. Each year she builds upon fond childhood memories of Holi celebrations, keeping the tradition alive by passing its significance down to a new generation of her family.

“As a child, I celebrated Holi with family and friends. We dressed in all white and covered each other in colored powders (abir), then sprayed each other with squirt guns, jumping and laughing, and only resting long enough to enjoy the feasts of delicious foods prepared by all of the families. It’s a tradition that I introduced to my own children here in the U.S., and now to my grandchildren.” says Joey.

Like so much of her Indian heritage, the colors of Holi have inspired her jewelry designs and are represented in the bright stones seen in many of her legacy and current creations—Garnet, Turquoise, Tourmaline, Lapis Lazuli, and Amethyst among them.

It has and continues to be her wish that the vibrant colors and energy within her designs serve as a tool of transformation and highlight the distinct beauty of women throughout every season of their journey.

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