Festival of Colors – HOLI

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Holi is a traditional Hindu festival celebrated on the full moon day falling in the month of Phalguna (Feb-Mar). It is known as the festival of colors where colors in powdered form are thrown on each other, leaving festivalgoers coated in colors while the celebration lasts. Although the festival is originated in India, it is widely celebrated all around the world by Indians as well as non-Indians.

People of all age, men, women, and children, carry powders(gulal) and liquid colors(rang) to throw on the clothes and faces of neighbors, friends, and relatives along with squirting colored water, water balloons and buckets filled with colored water. Clouds of colors are formed while the celebration as no one stops today while the loud music plays served with a special drink called as “thandaai” along with lots of fun and chattering going on all around.

Story behind the celebration of the festival – HOLI

Hiranyakashyap was a mighty demon who beat the gods and became the master of the universe.  While Hiranyakashyap was trying to gain victory over the gods, the divine sage Narada intervenes to protect his wife Kayadhu who was carrying an unborn child, Prahlad, who becomes affected by sage’s transcendental instructions in the womb. Later, growing as a child, Prahlad beings to show symptoms of Narada’s prenatal training and eventually becomes recognized as a devotee of Lord Vishnu.

Hiranyakashyap gradually becomes so angry seeing his son’s devotion to Lord Vishnu in spite he being the master of the universe. Seeing the boy as his only mortal enemy, his decides to kill him. But, Prahlad was protected by Lord Vishnu’s mystical powers.

Hiranyakashyap had made several attempts to kill his son but all failed. Then, he thought of a master plan and called his sister Holika. Holika was blessed by the gods in a way that she was unaffected by fire. Having this on his mind, Hiranyakashyap asked Holika to kill Prahlad. She refused to do so but agreed when she was forced. She held Prahlad in her lap and sat in the middle of the fire.

But it didn’t go as per it was planned and Holika was burnt to ashes as she was using her power for an evil act, but Prahlad kept chanting the name of Lord Vishnu and was totally unharmed.  

Lord-Narasimha

Hiranyakashyap was also blessed with the powers that no human or animal while on land or in the sky could kill him. Seeing all the sinful acts performed by Hiranyakashyap, Lord Vishnu appeared as Narasimha (half man and half lion) and killed Hiranyakashyap on his lap.

 

Holika-Dahan

A night before the Holi celebration a Holika bonfire is burned to celebrate the victory of good over evil.

Why is Holi celebrated with colors?

The story goes that Lord Krishna was jealous of his soul mate Radha’s fair complexion since he himself was very dark. Young Krishna complained to his mother Yashoda about this injustice of nature. To soothe the child doting mother asked Krishna to apply color on Radha’s face and change her complexion according to his choice.  Naughty Krishna appreciated the idea and implemented it. The game of applying colors thus gained so much popularity that it became a tradition and later it turned out to be a full-fledged festival.

Radha Krishna Playing HoliHoli with colorsHoli with Colors

Till date, lovers desired to color and be colored by their mates. The application of colors has in a way become an expression of love.

Happy Holi!

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