Holi

From ArticleWorld


Holi is the festival of colors and marks the arrival of spring. It is celebrated annually by Hindus and usually takes place in March. As per the Hindu calender, it is celebrated on Purnima (or Pooranmashi) i.e. the full moon day.

Holi begins with a bonfire being lit at night on the first day which represents the burning of the ‘Holika’. The second day is called ‘Dhulandi’. On this day people spray each other with colors from the morning and continuing into the afternoon. It is a time to have fun with friends and family. A special Holi drink called ‘Thandai’ is made. Many also drink ‘Bhang’ which is a drink to which small quantities of Marijuana have been added. In the evenings, people visit each other’s houses for feasts and celebrations.

Significance

According to Hindu mythology, Hiranyakashipu, the King of Demons, had received a blessing from Brahma, that made him impossible to be killed. The boon was that he could not be killed “during day or night; inside the home or outside; not on earth or on sky, neither by a man nor an animal”. As a result of this, he attacked the Earth and the Heavans and demanded that humans should pray to him instead of God. He had a son named Prahlad who was a devout worshipper of Lord Vishnu. His father tried to poison him but that transformed to nectar in his mouth. Hiranyakashipu tried several ways of killing him but was unsuccessful.

In the end, Hiranyakashipu ordered his son to sit atop a pyre on his sister, Holika’s lap. She possessed a shawl that would keep a person safe from burning. Prahlad accepted his father’s orders and prayed to Lord Vishnu for safety. As soon as the fire was lit, the shawl flew from Holika to cover Prahlad. Holika was burnt to death and Prahlad emerged without any scars. Holi is celebrated with the symbolic burning of the Holika.

Holi is celebrated over a period of 16 days in Vrindavan and Mathura, Lord Krishna’s hometown. The festival commemorates the divine love of Radha and Krishna. Krishna, being dark of complexion, complained about Radha’s fairness to his mother. He applied color to her face and also played pranks on the young girls (gopis) in the village. Holi is said to be a celebration of the season of love, Spring.