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Over the years, Holi has become the festival of chemicals, rather than colours. That has made parents apprehensive, and rightly so.

By Ghazal Alagh

Holi is one of the most exciting festivals for children. It’s messy, colourful and involves some delicious sweets! Now that’s an unbeatable combination. But unfortunately, over the years, Holi has become the festival of chemicals, rather than colours. That has made parents so apprehensive, and rightly so, that they don’t allow kids to enjoy the festival in its full glory. The chemicals found in colours are hazardous to health and can cause allergies, brittle hair and skin rashes, among other issues. But that doesn’t mean that children should not be allowed to enjoy this colourful festival. Parents can take certain steps to ensure that the entire family can celebrate a fun-filled Holi.

Use natural colours

While it’s easy to say that we should avoid playing with colours, Holi without colours will not be the same, will it? Fortunately, there is a way to enjoy a colourful Holi without causing any harm to the skin. Organic colours are not just safe for the skin but non-threatening to the environment as well. Instead of buying them from the market, make them at home with your kids. Not only will this be a fun activity, it will be a great way for you to bond with them! For red colour, dry red hibiscus flowers until they are crisp and then grind them into fine powder. For yellow colour, simply blend organic turmeric powder with gram flour in 1:2 ratio.

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Oil the skin and hair

The idea is to create a protective layer so that the chemicals don’t penetrate the skin. Use either mustard oil or coconut oil on the body. You can also apply petroleum jelly on the skin. For the hair, use coconut oil and make sure you apply it to the scalp as well. Besides oiling, the right clothing plays a vital role in protecting the skin from the harmful effects of chemicals. Children should wear clothes that cover the entire body to minimise contact with colours. Don’t forget to apply some sunscreen as well as it may be hot and sunny outside.

Get creative

If you have younger children and prefer that they stay indoors on Holi, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they can’t have fun with colours. Try fun activities like toothbrush painting. It involves the use of colours without any harmful effect on their skin. Your toddler gets a chance to play with colours and make a mess, and that’s what Holi is all about! Or you could ask them make a DIY Holi T-shirt. Foster your child’s imagination and give her a chance to actually create something on her own.

Go eco-friendly

Water conservation and environment preservation is on everyone’s minds right now. Play Holi in an eco-friendly way without losing its true essence. Not only will your children stay safe, you will be able to teach them about the importance of water conservation. There are so many ways to celebrate an eco-friendly Holi. Make sweets with your kids. Give them simple tasks and get them involved in the cooking. Not only will you end up with yummy treats, it’s a great way of bonding with kids.

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With the ongoing scare of Coronavirus, these simple home-based activities are the best way to keep your kids safe from sickness as well as the harmful effect of artificial colours.

Finally, it is important for you to set the right example for them. If they see you playing with metallic and other dangerous colours, they would want to do the same. Let them know about the long-term harmful effects of such colours and show them the alternatives. Also teach them the right etiquettes of playing Holi. They should be able to sternly say “No” if they are not comfortable with someone applying colours on them.

(The writer is Co-founder of Mamaearth)

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