“Festival of Colors” by Kabir Sehgal, Surishtha Sehgal and Vashi Harrison
I love the truth that through books you can travel around the world and even experience the impossible. It’s a form of magic that you can’t quite get in any other way. One of my favorite magical experiences that books provide is for my children to get a peek at different cultures. That is one of the reasons why I love this book.
It is a simple introduction to the Hindu Spring festival known as the Holi Festival of Colors. It follows a family in their preparation of colored powder using dried flowers to the festival itself where they wear white and throw the powder up in the air and at each other. It is a color explosion that I hope to one day participate in.
I am thrilled with how the illustrations in this book are bold and stunning! You really get a sense for the celebration through them and they have you wishing you could “leap into the pages” and celebrate with them.
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DIY “Festival of Colors” Powder
I love how this celebration and even just the idea of having fun with colored powders is becoming more and more popular. I have participated in a couple of “color runs” where we were covered in colorful powder as we ran and seen a lot of use of colored powders even in just photography. When I learned how incredibly easy it is to make at home (using baking soda instead of the traditional dried flower method) I knew that we had to make some as a “beyond the book” celebration along with this story.
- 2 parts baking soda to 1 part water (we did 4 cups baking soda and 2 cups of water)
- food coloring in the colors of your choice
This powder really couldn’t be much easier to make. It consists of the three ingredients listed above and takes minutes to mix and patience while it dries. First, in a large bowl you mix together the baking soda and the water. In my opinion, this step works best if you mix it with your hands. Once you add the water to the baking powder it clumps and sticks together. I used my hands to squish and break up the clumps as I mixed. It took a minute, but it all came together.
In the process of mixing the water and the baking soda.
After the baking soda is mixed with the water you divide it up into as many portion sizes you want for each color you want to make. I divided mine up between three glass baking dishes, however you can also use baking sheets or any other oven safe container. Next you add food coloring and mix it in. I highly recommend gel food coloring because it is so saturated and creates bright colors. I also highly recommend mixing with your hands again and even wearing a pair of rubber gloves so that the food coloring doesn’t get all over your hands.
Once all your colors are mixed in you place it in the oven at 170 degrees fahrenheit to dry up your powder. It takes about 60 minutes with stoping to mix it up about every 20 minutes. (If you have a thicker layer of powder than it may take longer to dry out. Just continue to check on it until it is dry to the touch.) If you aren’t in a hurry you can also just leave it out on your counter to dry for a few days.
Our colored powder after baking. Clumps can be broken up with a food processor if desired.
Once your powder is dry it may still have some larger clumps. You can either break these up with your hands again or put it in a food processor to create an extra fine powder. Then you’re ready! Wear some white clothing, put some in small containers, head outside, and throw! These powders make it so much fun to have a “color festival” of your own. If you want to be even more official in your celebration you can shout out “holi, hai! holi, hai!” just like they do in the book!
Some things to consider: Maybe have a rule that you can only throw on clothing and not above the shoulders. (Or wear bandanas over your mouth and goggles/sunglasses to protect eyes.) This powder is incredibly messy and should wash right out of your clothing. However, I wouldn’t wear anything that you wouldn’t mind some permanent color on just in case.
We hope that you enjoy your Color Festivals! If you give this Beyond the Book activity a try I’d love to hear how it goes! Share it on Instagram using hashtag #beyondthebook (I’m on Instagram as @book.nerd.mommy) or even just comment here with your thoughts. It would make my day! Or to simply save for later pin the image below.