I had always been fascinated by the origins of the festival and why my mother insisted on Palash flowers for the occasion. There was no doubt in my mind that a pithy explanation would unfurl. Hindu festivals and theories , if one bothered to investigate are steeped in logic and reasonability. Not some insane whim of an inane mind… AAhh, our sages!!
The Vedas suggested using the color of the palash(teshu or dhak) flower. If clothes soaked in this colour are worn, then that colour will have its effect on our body by entering through the pores of the skin, and will save one from contagious diseases. It has miraculous medicinal effects on the body. Earlier, the young princes leaving for their Guru’s Ashram used to carry a Palash Danad (stick). It is believed that the stick protected them from diseases, and harmful viruses. Palash flowers and tree bark cures many skin diseases. If a pregnant woman consumes Palash’s flower juice, a very fair complexioned child is born. In addition, the child is bound to be immune to many skin and viral diseases.
The customary ‘gulal’ used on the occasion was derived from palash, in the good old days. Today if you are lucky, all you may procure is the aroma of the flowers, that too, fake, in chemicalized powder.