Holi, the festival of colours is here, will be celebrated on March 2, 2018, and Holika Dahan on March 01, 2018. We all wait for it the whole year so that we can enjoy those Gujiyas, Thandai, Mithai (Sweets), Gulal and colours. Holi festival provides an occasion to reset and renew ruptured relationships, end conflicts and rid themselves of accumulated emotional impurities from the past.
Holi is a Hindu spring festival, celebrated majorly in the Indian subcontinent. Now, it has become popular with non-Hindus in many parts of South Asia, as well as people of other communities outside Asia. In recent years the festival has spread to parts of Europe and North America as a spring celebration of love, frolic, and colours.
It is known as a festival of colours as people smear Gulal (Pigmented Powder) and colour on each other’s face to express their joy and happiness. The festival of Holi marks the arrival of spring season and farewell of winter. On this day, people meet each other in a community-organised get-together. It is also celebrated as a thanksgiving for good harvest.
According to the Hindu calendar, it starts on the evening of the Purnima falling in the Vikram Samvat Hindu Calendar month of Phalguna. According to the Gregorian calendar, it falls usually somewhere between the end of February and the middle of March.
Holi Festival Significance and Story
Holi celebrations start with the Holika Dahan in the night of Poornmasi (Poornima) of Phalgun month. The first evening of Holi is known as Holika Dahan or Chhoti Holi and the following day in which people play with colours is known as Holi or Dhulandi. At some places, it is also known as Phagwah.
In the first evening of Holi, people gather, perform religious rituals in front of the bonfire ‘Holika Dahan’, and pray that their internal evil should be destroyed the way Holika, the sister of the demon king Hiranyakashipu, was killed in the fire.
Holi delicacies are also shared on the next day of Holika Dahan. In some places, people consume customary drinks which include Bhang.
Ancient Story Behind Holi Festival
According to the Hindu mythology, Holi festival is celebrated to honour the Hindu god Vishnu and his follower Prahalada.
According to a legend found in chapter 7 of Bhagavata Purana, King Hiranyakashipu, was the king of demon (Asuras), and had earned a boon that gave him five special powers: he could be killed by neither a human being nor an animal, neither indoors nor outdoors, neither at day nor at night, neither by Astra nor by any Shastra, and neither on land nor in water or air. Hiranyakashipu grew arrogant, realizing his powers and thought he was God, and demanded that everyone worship only him no the eternal power of “God”.
Hiranyakashipu’s own only son Prahalada was a follower of Lord Vishnu and disagreed to follow his diktat of worshipping his father. He remained devoted to Lord Vishnu. This makes Hiranyakashipu Infuriated and vowed to kill his own son. He subjected Prahlada to cruel punishments, none of which affected the boy or his devotion to God. Finally, Holika, Prahlada’s evil aunt, tricked him to sit on a pyre with her.
Holika was wearing a cloak that made her immune to fire. As the fire was lit, the cloak flew from Holika and encased to Prahalada. Hence Prahlada, who survived while Holika burned and killed on the pyre.
Lord Vishnu, the god who appears as an Narasimha avatar to restore Dharma– half human and half lion, at dusk (when it was neither day nor night), took Hiranyakashyapu at a doorstep (which was neither indoors nor outdoors), placed him on his lap (which was neither land, water nor air), and then eviscerated and killed the king with his lion claws (which were neither a handheld weapon nor a launched weapon).
The Holika bonfire and Holi signify the celebration of the symbolic victory of good over evil, of Prahlada over Hiranyakashipu, and Holika, that burned in the fire.
The next morning of Holika Dahan is celebrated as Rangwali Holi or Dhulandi – a festival of colours, where people smear each other with Gulal, colours and drench each other. Water guns and water-filled balloons are also used to play and colour each other.
The frolic and fight with colours occur in the open streets, open parks, outside temples and buildings. Groups carry drums and other musical instruments, go from place to place, sing and dance. People visit family, friends and foes to throw coloured powders at each other, laugh and gossip.
In the Braj region of Uttar Pradesh in India, where the Hindu deity Krishna grew up, the festival is celebrated until Rangpanchmi in commemoration of the divine love of Radha for Krishna. The festivities officially usher in spring, with Holi celebrated as a festival of love.
Things To Avoid In Holi
Play friendly Holi, avoid making it rough and rowdy.
- Discourage the use of eggs, mud, tar or gutter water while playing Holi. It’s never safe to play Holi with such things.
- Do not apply harmful colours on the face of anyone who is not interested.
- Do not run or jump on the wet floors as this can be dangerous.
- Play Holi with known people such as family and friends instead of unknown ones.
- Avoid hard drinks like liquor or even bhang, which is very harmful.
AfterGraduation team wishes You and Your Family a happy and Colourful HOLI. May your life be filled with happiness and may you be successful in whatever you do. Enjoy the festival “Bura na maano, Holi hai. Happy Holi!”