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The Scientific Benefits of celebrating Holi – Festival of Colors

The colorful festival Holi is popular in different states of India, all across Nepal, and other places where Hindus have taken their stance. It is celebrated on the full-moon day in the month of Falgun (which falls in the month of March according to the Gregorian calendar). You might have already read about the story behind Holi.

To understand it deeply, you can read this: Everything you need to Know About The Hindu festival Holi

But we are here to learn the science behind the festival, so let’s get back to it.

The heat during Holika Dahan kills bacteria in your body

It’s the festival that lies between the end of winter and start of summer. During this period, bacteria grow in the atmosphere, as well as in our body. As you might already know, Holi is celebrated with a bonfire the night before the day, and people take a round (parikrama) around the fire. When Holika is burnt, the temperature in the surrounding rises to 50/60 degree Celsius. The heat from bonfire kills bacteria in the body and cleanses it.

Promotes good health

The remaining ashes of the bonfire or the Holika Dahan (burning of Holika) are swiped across the forehead in some parts of India. People in these parts also mix it with Chandan (paste of sandalwood), young leaves and flowers of Mango tree. This is going to promote good health.

Dealing with the tardiness of season change

Since season changes from winter to summer during this period, most of the people feel tardiness and laziness. So, the culture of playing songs with Dhol, Manjira, and other traditional instruments. The merry environment demands a lot of physical movement and helps in reinvigorating the human body during the time.

Natural Colours have scientific gains too

Natural colors used in Holi keep the body fit. If there are any kind of deficiency of color, it can cause ailment. To cure it, food or medicine containing the color element is provided by Vaidyas and Ayurvedic doctors. When the culture of playing Holi started, people used colors of natural sources like turmeric, neem, Tulasi, Tesu, Katha, and so on. These natural colours had positive effects on human body, and can also strengthen the ions in the body to promote good health and beauty.

Image source – theknotstory.com

However, people today are using synthetic colours since herbal colours are not available in adequate amount, and synthetic colours are much cheaper. That way, the colours can only have negative effects on human body. They comprise of toxic substances such as lead oxide, chromium iodine, diesel, copper sulphate, and can cause rashes on the skin, allergies, eye irritation, frizzy hair, and pigmentation. It can go as worse as skin diseases and clogging of hair cuticles.

Stay aware of this and enjoy your Holi.

Some more interesting information for you. These are the plants used for producing natural colours

Green: Mehendi and dried leaves of Gulmohur tree, leaves of spring crops and herbs, Spinach leaves, rhododendron leaves and pine needles

Yellow: Turmeric (Haldi) powder, Bael fruit, amaltas, species of chrysanthemums, and species of marigold, dandelions, sunflowers, marigolds, daffodils and dahlias, gram flour

Red: Rose or the bark of crab apple trees, Red Sandal wood Powder, feels of Red Pomegranate, flowers of Tesu tree (Palash), fragrant red sandal wood, dried hibiscus flowers, madder tree, radish and pomegranate

Saffron: flowers of Tesu tree (Palash), Mixing lime with turmeric powder creates an alternate source of orange powder, barberry

Blue: Indigo, Indian berries, species of grapes, blue hibiscus and jacaranda flowers

Purple: Beetroot

Brown: Dried Tea leaves, red maple trees, Katha

Black: Some species of grapes, fruit of Gooseberry (Amla)

(Source: National Council of Science Museums, Ministry of Culture, Government of India)

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