Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night.
⁓ Rainer Maria Rilke
What would life be without color?
Even if I prefer the somber nuances of grey for handwriting and sketching, I feel that its calming effects on me would diminish if not for the contrast with its more vibrant cousins in the color wheel. Colors can speak to us this way, silently expressing and reflecting our emotions. Each color has been linked to human experience and perception. Gradations in intensity as determined by shade or tint can likewise signify variations of meaning that each hue signifies. Colors enable us to speak with one another without words — red as the passion of love, yellow as the warmth of happiness, or blue as the tranquility of trust.
Another way color affects us is rooted in nature. Colors help us determine the ripeness of fruit for eating, the readiness of grain for harvesting. Poisonous plants or animals often possess vivid coloring as warning signs. The changing of the seasons are expressed in the shifting hues of foliage or the plumage of birds. These are some of the ways the earth communicates with us — through living color.
If color was the only way we could make sense of the world and each other, its absence would mean a drab existence and not the dynamic life we are meant to experience.
The Colorful Tradition of Holi
One of the most enthusiastic festivals brimming with color is the Indian tradition of Holi, with poetry describing its practice dating back to the 4th century CE. It is a yearly festival commemorated in March, with deep ties to Hindu traditions and of great cultural significance throughout the Indian subcontinent.
Popularly known as the Festival of Colors, Holi is the time to emblazon each other with red, saffron, yellow, green, blue, purple, and pink in honor of the legendary love between Krishna and Radha. These vibrant hues are either joyfully thrown as powders or splashed on using water balloons or water pistols. Traditionally, these bright dyes were concocted from herbs and flowers which flourished in India's tropical climate. Each color has its own meaning, reflective of the practices and beliefs of Indian society —
Red – symbolizes love, passion, beauty, and fertility — a color particularly attributed to married Hindu women.
Saffron – represents the strength and courage of the people as seen in the nation’s flag — a hue ascribed specifically to yogis and gurus and symbolic of the sacral chakra
Yellow – the sacred color of India that evokes sunshine and happiness, possesses healing properties — identified with turmeric which is a medicinal and auspicious herb used in weddings or rituals, chosen by deities Vishnu, Ganesha, and Krishna
Green – symbolizes nature and new beginnings — an invocation for a good harvest with the turning of the seasons
Blue – the color of the sky and ocean, serenity, and immortality — a hue representing Krishna, one of the favored Indian deities and the prized qualities of courage and dedication in Indian society
Violet – denotes wisdom, royalty, wealth, and power — distinctly symbolic of the crown chakra in Hinduism
Pink – the color celebrating youthfulness, good health, and playfulness — a favorite among girls and women for its vivacious energy
Holi is a sacred, spiritual practice honoring the religious narratives. Also known as the Festival of Love, it is representative of the romance between Krishna and Radha. The young deity Krishna had been despondent since his dark, blue skin seemed ill-matched to the beauty of his beloved Radha. His mother Yashoda advised him to approach the fair maiden and ask her to color his face with any hue she desired. Radha playfully accepted his offer and eventually consented to be his wife. The custom of harnessing color with gaiety and exuberance keeps this narrative alive.
Holi is likewise the time to forgive the self and others, to let go or settle debts, and to join the family in the sharing of sweets after merrymaking with the community.
A Festival in a Fountain Pen
It is in the spirit of Holi that Nahvalur, EndlessPens, and I share Living Color with you. With its vibrant, flowing hues and shimmering particles, it is reminiscent of color wafting in the breeze or glistening on sunkissed skin. It is akin to flowers merrily blossoming after the darkness of winter. It is laughter and play amongst friends and family, rippling not with sound but with light.
Nahvalur Living Color highlights the impact of color in our lives. It is a vital element of nature that transcends borders. We all live amidst color and feel its influence every day. With Holi as inspiration, these lively hues mark our connections to one another through shared meaning, transforming differences into togetherness through mutual celebration.
We gratefully acknowledge this ancient festival from India, one of the oldest living cultures of our world. We give thanks for its customs that broaden our perspectives of the people around us, and their traditional symbols that resonate with our own spirit.
Through Nahvalur Living Color may you feel that bright spark of inspiration and harness it with joy!
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Written by @lekzumali
Check out her musings on Instagram!