Always present in Indian's main religious, personal and public life, red is a symbol of celebration, joy, good fortune and passion. In fact, the colour red is a staple in wedding cerimonies. In them, red reigns: the bride's hands and feet are decorated with colourful henna tatoos, the silk used in the garments is red, usually embroidered with gold strings, the fire - the centre of the wedding ritual - is spiked with products that turn it reder and finally, the sindoor, a red powder that symbolizes the blessing and prosperity in a marriage is applied to the bride's hair parting. If marriage and sex have a prominent place in Hindi culture, nothing is more revealing.
Another red powder is the gulaal, used in the Holi Festival, an Indian street carnival. The gulaal is a talco powder made from sandalwood powder and colouring made from rose petals. It's thrown at people like confetti at the Brazillian carnival. It's with similar artificial colouring that the rangoli, drawings made on the floor to decorate houses and marketplaces, are made.
There is also a religious connotation: red is the colour of the worshipping of godess Durga, who is considered the embodiment of feminine and creative energy. The colour appears in the offerings made to her, as well as in the offerings given to us by nature: in the summer, colours become red around the indian mountains.
In India's largest state, the Rajasthan, turbants, veils and skirts go from pink to red, jewlery is made mainly out of ruby and you can see red sandstone in the houses' facade, an influence inherited from Mongolian architecture.
Peppers, shawls, flowers, cherries, Kulu apples, everything in sight seems to point India towards that colour, that inhabits the traditional imagery and that creates images that are hard to describe. Having said that, it's best to let these images speak for themselves and dazzle us with their red beauty.
like us on facebook