Friday, March 6, 2015

When Purim and Holi fall out on the same day!

This year, the Jewish holiday of Purim and the Hindu holiday of Holi (Duli Vadan) fall out on the same day, highlighting some fun and some serious shared aspects of the two cultures. Both holidays are colorful and exuberant, with people turning the streets upside down in playful festivity. In Holi, Indians celebrate by throwing bright colored powder (Abeer) on each other, while on Purim, Jews celebrate victory over the destructive Haman by dressing in costume and make-up and sending sweets to each other.

Another major shared characteristic of the two holidays is the idea of standing up to evil in order to achieve great good. On Purim Jews revel in Esther’s courage to stand up to a powerful tyrant bent on genocide. During Holi Hindus commemorate the salvation of a pious son (Prahlada) over his tyrannical demon father. Through the Purim Seuda and Holi Milan, celebrants emphasize the ideas that people belong to the same global human network, connected by a commitment to goodness and determination to act in the face of evil. As Mahatma Gandhi said, ‘“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

Happy Purim and Happy Holi to us all!

Emily during Holi
Purim party at Chabad of Mumbai

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