Article by: Deepthi Sendilkumar
Today, March 18th, 2022 Hindus across the globe come together to celebrate the traditional Hindu festival Holi. Some celebrate Holi to mark the Hindu god Lord Vishnu's defeat over Hiranyakashyap whereas others celebrate the Hindu deities Radha and Krishna's love. Despite the variations, Holi is used to welcome the arrival of spring and celebrate good over evil. For most, Holi is a festive day to meet family, eat traditional food, sing, dance and, most importantly, play with colors. Also known as the festival of colors, the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of Holi is the blend of bright and vivid colors across the city and its people. Some of my favorite memories of Holi include coming to school the next day, stained pink and purple from the colored powder also known as Gulal.
Traditionally, Gulal was made naturally from flowers, plants and spices. For instance, turmeric was used for yellow, henna leaves for green and indigo for blue. To keep up with the growing market, over time the once naturally made colors are now being made with artificial ingredients. Today, Gulal is made with a combination of starches and dyes. Most factories use corn starch as a base which is first passed through a grinder and then dried. Once the corn starch is ready, dyes are added to create the attractive bright colors our society adores.
Most pigments used are artificially made and petroleum-based. Although pigments are of FD&C grade, there has been a rise in concern for human health and the environment. There have been reports of the presence of toxic, metal-based pigments in Gulal, such as copper sulfate, mercury sulfide, chromium iodide and lead oxide.
Whether you celebrate Holi to commemorate Radha & Krishna’s love or to enjoy festivities with your family, it is important we use organic colors that are safe for us and our environment. At Spira, we have created algae-based dyes with a vivid blue and green hue to brighten your Holi that’s good for you and our environment.