Published on April 5th, 2012 | by Dr Vandana Prakash2
Delhi Uses Festivals to Spread Environmental Awareness
Concern for your environment and for yourself go hand in hand. Now the Delhi Government is educating the public about pollution and the importance of keeping nature clean by tying the issues with traditional Indian festivals.
Now Holi is no longer a time for smearing the strongest chemical based color to leave lasting impact on one another; nor is it a time for soaking each other with water colored with toxic chemicals. Rather, it is a celebration when we soak the soul with fragrances; it is a time to experience floral itras, the traditional Indian perfume, and a time to delight your senses and not damage yourself or our environment. It is also going back to older tradition of coloring the Holi water with extracts of of flowers, especially ‘tesu’.
This Holi, Delhi was a hub of sheer delight for the senses. I felt fortunate that Delhi was offering so many different kinds of Holi celebrations — using raagas in classical songs, singing folk-songs, invariably using flower-petals to play Holi; creating a Gulbari (flowers=gul, house=bari) that offered a celebration of Holi exclusively with roses, and splashing tiny droplets of rose-itra about. To my delight, Holi here was rich in flowers — for aren’t colors and fragrances first found in flowers?
The success of this approach to improving our environment utilizing a traditional festival has inaugurated a whole new approach to helping keep our air and water clean. Festivals can become an occasion for sharing traditions, as well as education and knowledge. The public’s positive response proves just how well these new strategies are working.Photos courtesy of Department of Environment and Forest, Government of NCT of Delhi