When I was a wee young thing, I had a book of holidays from around the world. I’m convinced that my Auntie V got it for me, but I could be making that up. It’s just as likely that my mom got it for me at the Hamilton Library Book Sale. It had descriptions of lovely festivals and holidays from places that I couldn’t even identify on a map. I loved that book, and as with those kinds of things, somehow, it got lost to the sands of time. I’ve been pining for that book for a long time. It contained things I knew (St. Patrick’s Day, 12th night), but other, wildly unfamiliar (to my white RC childhood) celebrations that captured my imagination in amazing ways. Two of those are relevant today.
Today is Norooz (Persian New Year) and the Hindu festival of Holi – the festival of colour and the festival of love. Holi provides a time when the social caste lines are blurred, You may know it as the festival wherein people throw coloured powder at each other. Holi also gives people a chance to repair damaged relationships.
It might seem weird to include Lent reflections that include Zoroastrian and Hindu celebrations from Iran and India. But really, there are people who spend a lot of time and energy defending the lines between Us and Them. THEY have celebrations to strengthen relationships, to celebrate community, have food-based celebrations, plant seeds, have water balloon fights, and celebrate new beginnings. You know, kind of like WE do.
If you are celebrating your Norooz today, No-Rooz Pirooz (Wishing you a Prosperous New Year)!
If you are celebrating Holi today, अगर मैं इंद्रधनुषी रंग में आता हूं तो मुझे सबसे ज्यादा खुशी होली मनाने के लिए चाहिए। (If wishes came in rainbow colours then I would send the brightest one to say Happy Holi).
During Lent, may I be as inspired and enthusiastic to celebrate my own faith and heritage festivals. This Lent, may I also examine my conscience for places where I can repair and strengthen relationships in my life.