Holi: The Festival of Colors with Dr. Anil Antony

Holi: The Festival of Colors with Dr. Anil Antony


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Holi is the festival of love, of spring, of colors. People get to unite together, forgetting all resentments and bad feelings towards each other. Winter is over, and spring is here. Holi is also sometimes known as “Cupid’s Festival” because lovers paint their faces the same color to signify their love. In this Conversation, we will talk about the what, when, why, and how of Holi, and look at some very colorful pictures in the process.

If you’ve ever seen a picture of fun-loving young people looking mischievous amid a colored powder fight, you’ve probably seen a picture of Holi. Because it is so visual, Holi is the most instantly recognizable of Indian festivals. Everyone knows about the colors, but did you know that it also includes throwing scented water and drinking cannabis-infused milkshakes?

Holi comes from the word “hola,” which means prayers for a good harvest. The festival is split into two events, Holika Dahan, a fire festival the previous night, and the more famous Rangwali Holi, or colorful Holi. Holi has been celebrated since at least the fourth century CE. It has become India’s most vivid and joyous festival. It is celebrated in the Western world, too, because of this vibrancy. Color fun-runs or color marathons are a recent Western practice inspired by scenes of Holi in India.

Led by Dr. Anil Noronha “Noro” Antony, who grew up in Kerala and earned a Ph.D. in biology in the US, this interactive seminar will bring a local, expert perspective to this colorful and vital festival. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of this national festival and just how, where, and why it is celebrated.

Dr. Anil “Noro” Noronha Antony is an assistant director of the American Association for Cancer Research, the world’s oldest and largest private cancer research organization. He holds a Ph.D. in Cell and Developmental biology and a lifelong interest in the history and culture of south India. Born in the Muslim-majority United Arab Emirates to an Anglo-Indian Catholic family and trained by a Hindu tantric in Kerala, he has direct experience of all three major Keralite religious traditions.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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