Holi is a Hindu festival, a “Festival of Colors” that is celebrated in India and Nepal. It is also called as “Festival Of Love”. The rich poor, youngsters elders, friends strangers, everyone celebrates this festival. There is a saying “Bura Na Mano Holi Hai“ which means if anyone puts color on your face, you should not feel bad, or get angry or be upset. The festival indicates love, purity, liveliness, happiness, and the most important thing, everyone is equal without any discrimination. It is said, all the broken relationships are sealed, you forget and forgive and apply colors on everyone.
The festival of Holi last for two days which starts on Full Moon Day (Purnima). This festival usually falls either in the end of February or in the month of March. The first day is called as “Holika Dahan” or “Chhoti Holi” and the second day is Dhuleti, “Rangwali Holi”.
Holi celebration starts with Holika Dahan where everyone gathers at the dusk. A huge pyre is set up prior to the rituals. Once everyone gathers, the pyre is lit and everyone prays for destruction of one’s inner devil. They walk round the bonfire and pray for longevity, happiness and welfare of family. The next day is followed by applying colors to everyone. People play with color, water balloons, water gun etc. In few regions, music system is setup and they dance while applying colors. People from northern India also take bhang(marijuana) to get high and play Holi. In the evening, people visit each other’s place and greet them. Now this festival is growing popularity in South Asia, USA, European countries too.
LEGEND BEHIND CELEBRATING HOLI
The legends goes back before the birth of Christ. According to the legends, there was a king called Hiranyakashipu. He was the king of demonic Asuras. He had many powers and he wanted everyone to pray him. The special powers included that he would be never be killed by human or an animal, neither indoor nor outdoor, neither in day or night, neither by projectile weapons (Astra) or handheld weapons(Shastra), neither on land, water or in the air.
On the contrary his son, Prahlada worshipped Lord Vishnu. King Hiranyakashipu got exasperated , as his son was against and did not worship him. The king ordered many cruel punishments but none worked on his son. Finally he decided to take help from his sister HOLIKA, who was blessed and powered with fire immunity. Holika tricked Prahlada by taking him and sitting on fire. As the fire roared, the immunity of fire was passed to Prahlada. This backfired Holika and she was burnt into ashes while nothing happened to Prahlada.
Lord Vishnu then took form of Narasimha who is half human and half animal. At the dusk(neither day or night), he dragged King Hiranyakashipu to the doorsteps(neither indoor not outdoor), placed him on his lap(neither land, water or air) and killed the king with lion claws(neither projectile weapon or hand held weapon). This way Holika Dahan signifies victory of Good over the Evil.
Rangwali Holi or Dhuleti is one of the festival loved by everyone. The legend goes back to the times of the Hindu deity Lord Krishna and Radha. It signifies the love of Krishna and Radha. When Lord Krishna since his childhood had developed a dark blue skin color. The skin color was due to the she-demon “Putana”, fed Lord Krishna with poisoned breast milk. His skin color made him worried if the faired skin Radha and her friends would like him or not. Lord Krishna’s mother asked him to approach Radha and told to apply colors on Radha’s face. Since then, they become couple and the festival signifies the love of the couple.
PLAY SAFE HOLI:
- Stay away from strong colors as it might affect your skin and hairs
- Do not apply colors to Dogs or any other animals. It itchy for them and end up licking chemicals from their body
- Use organic colors to celebrate
- Do not waste water while playing Holi.
- Apply sunscreen or lotion to protect your skin against harmful colors
- Apply Hair Oil before you step out as your hairs might get damaged due to colors
- Do not take advantage or harass girls in the name of playing Holi.
- Avoid taking Bhang from strangers.