There is no better way to get involved and understand our global neighbours than by immersing ourselves in their culture. And one of the best ways to experience a new culture is to celebrate a local traditional festival – with a local family and all the new friends that we’ve made!
Have you heard about the festival of Holi? It is a Hindu spring festival that is celebrated in India and Nepal. Also known as the festival of colours or the festival of love, Holi signifies the victory of good over evil and celebrates the end of winter. It is a time when families get together with friends and loved ones to eat and be merry, but also to forgive and forget as they seek to repair broken relationships.
Not to be confused with Diwali or Deepavali, which is a Hindu festival known as the festival of lights that also celebrates the victory of good over evil, Diwali is celebrated in autumn and is not only a celebration of new beginnings, but also of thanksgiving for a good harvest.
Personally, Holi is a favourite festival of the team here at Trailblazers Travel because who doesn’t want to celebrate love and the triumph of good over evil and it echoes some of the values that we hold dear. So much of what we do here is about creating hope (new beginnings) and empowering those who are less fortunate than us (good over evil), and our aim is always to transform the places that we travel to, changing lives for the better wherever and whenever we can (spreading love).
More importantly, we believe that celebrating traditions and festivals with locals, the local way, is one of the best ways to travel responsibly. By being invited into the locals’ homes and celebrating with them as they do, we are given a priceless opportunity to experience their culture in a real and authentic way. There is no pandering to what Westerners want, it’s not some kind of pantomime!
These opportunities are a big part of the Trailblazers Travel experience, and our tour itineraries include many activities that you will not find on standard mass-produced tours. At the same time, by celebrating with the locals, we are able to provide them with income. We want to support the families that proudly open up their homes to us, hosting us and sharing their food with us, and who make the handicrafts that we may buy. This way, the money stays in the communities that we visit and goes directly to the locals.
There are several benefits to this. Not only are the small communities that we visit able to generate an income, but they also see the benefits of keeping up their traditions, handicrafts, rituals and way of life. Where many of their younger generation might be looking to move to the city for work, responsible travellers like us help to give them the opportunity to sustain an income right in their own community. They get to keep up the traditions of their forebearers and preserve them so that tribes, traditions and rituals are not lost, both for themselves, future generations and for the rest of the world.
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