How has Holi evolved? And how was it played some time ago, as making color pigments must have been expensive? Was it reserved for the elites like the royal family?

Or is playing with colors a modern invention (in the last 100 years)?

  • 1
    A question of a similar nature was asked previously, but received no answers.
    – justCal
    Commented Jan 13, 2023 at 12:39
  • 2
    The wiki article linked in the question states: "Traditionally, washable natural plant-derived colours such as turmeric, neem, dhak, and kumkum were used, but water-based commercial pigments are increasingly used nowadays." Based on a quick search I suspect to go much deeper then that will probably be difficult as I don't see much relevant work.
    – Brian Z
    Commented Jan 13, 2023 at 12:51
  • Reading up on it, this appears to be an entire holiday, with assorted observations. I wouldn't consider praying in front of a bonfire for the destruction of evil to be "playing". So it might be helpful if you could edit this to be more specific about what aspect of Holi observance exactly you are referring to.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Jan 13, 2023 at 14:21
  • Early sources I have looked at seem to indicate a use primarily of a red powder and a yellow liquid, so the modern multicolored festival seen today may indeed be a modern evolution of an older tradition.
    – justCal
    Commented Jan 13, 2023 at 14:33


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