I hear that today is the beginning of Holi, the spring festival of colours in countries like India, Nepal, Srilanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The highlight of the festival is a great riot of face painting and throwing of coloured powder and coloured water at each other and everything in sight.
Holi is also about bonfires, eating lots of good stuff and about the consumption of bhang (cannabis) in milkshakes and other bhang-laden sweets.
Linda recently spent some time in India and, as usual, had some lovely photos to post. Even when they’re not celebrating Holi, I couldn’t help noticing the brilliant colours with which the people of India surround themselves. Here’s one of the stunning photos from Linda’s blog.
I love Linda’s photos. She always manages to capture an image or a detail that evokes a whole range of emotions, thoughts and ideas and/or somehow magically tells an entire story.
So, this series of photos from India got me thinking about all the other nations and cultures in which colour features so much more prominently than it does in ours. And I’ve come to the conclusion that people in warm climates are much more colour-oriented than we are. Think of the traditional and even every-day dress of people in Africa or the Caribbean or South America. For instance, market day in South Africa:
Now compare this to market day in New York:
Think even of the colourful homes in Florida or Hawaii or other warmer states compared to the brick or white aluminum sided homes up north.
You’d think those of us who live in a cold, drab climate would want to surround ourselves with as much light and colour as possible whereas people in warm climates are already surrounded by flowers and blue skies and bright yellow sunshine all the time.
The only exception I can think of to this phenomena is Newfoundland where they paint everything every colour of the rainbow:
Compare this photo of downtown St. John’s Newfoundland to a shot of downtown Ottawa:
And that’s on a bright, sunny day! Yawn.
Why would Newfoundland be the exception to the colour- climate relationship? Here’s a province where the hottest summer day might reach 20 degrees Celsius (70 F) and the coldest winter day can plunge to minus 50 (in any measure). It’s the windiest province in the country and is shrouded in fog a good part of the year. And it gets some terrific snowfalls.
This is a highway.
Anybody have any theories about this colour-climate relationship and/or why there are exceptions like Newfoundland? Maybe there isn’t even a relationship and I’ve just had one too many bhang milkshakes?