History Of Holi Festival
Holi, the festival of colors is among the most important festivals of India. Like many other festivals in India, Holi also signifies a victory of good over evil. Holi is celebrated with various colors on the full moon day falling in the month of Phalguna (Feb-Mar). As per ancient mythology, there is a legend of King Hiranyakashipu with who Holi is associated. Holi is also the spring festival of the Hindus. Let’s learn more about History Of Holi Festival and why Holi Festival is celebrated in India.
History Of Holi Festival
Amongst the various legends associated with Holi, the following is the foremost legend. Holika was the sister of the demon king named Hirnakashyap. This king after great austerity and long penance managed to please Brahma, the creator of the universe. Brahma granted a boon to Hiranakashyap. The boon was that he could not be killed by a human or an animal, by Astra, meaning a hand held weapon, or Shastra, meaning a weapon that can be thrown afar, at night or in the day, neither on land nor in the sky, not in the house or outside the house.
When he was granted this boon, Hiranakashyap became very egoist and ordered everybody in his kingdom to worship only him and not God. However, he was very disappointed to see his little son Prahlad refused to do so and continued to worship Lord Vishnu. This made him so angry that he decided to kill Prahlad but was unsuccessful as Lord Vishnu saved Prahlad many times.
Ultimately he made his sister Holika agree to enter a blazing pyre with him. Holika had a boon that fire would not harm her. After the fire died down, Hiranakashyap saw that Prahlad was saved while his sister Holika was burnt alive. She and her brother were unaware that her powers were only effective if she entered the fire alone. Prahlad was saved because of his unwavering worship and devotion to God while Holika was killed because of her evil intentions.
In the end, demon king Harinakashyap was killed by the Lord who assumed the form of Narsimha-a half human-half animal form and killed Hirnakashyap with his bare claws at dusk on the steps of his courtyard by placing the demon king on his lap. All the conditions are being fulfilled and the boon as given by Brahma remaining true. Even today, bonfires are lit on the night of Holi in memory of the event and the burning of Holika. Above all, Holi is the festival of the triumph of good over evil
Earlier, Holi colors used to be made from flowers of ‘tesu’ or ‘palash’ tree and known as gulal. The colors used to be very good for skin as no chemicals were used to make these. But amidst of all definitions of festivals, the definition of colors for sure have changed with time. Today people have started using harsh colors made from chemicals. Even fast colors are used to play Holi, which are bad and that is why many people avoid celebrating this festival. We should enjoy this age old festival with the true spirit of festivity.
Why Holi Festival is celebrated in India
The festival of Holi can be considered as a celebration of the Colors of Unity & Brotherhood – an occasion to forget all differences. It has customarily been celebrated in high spirit without any distinction of cast, creed, color, race, status or sex. There are different customs for celebrating Holi in different cultures in India. On this occasion people sprinkle colored powder (‘gulal’) or colored water on others. It can be regarded as a festival which breaks all barriers of discrimination where everyone looks the same and universal brotherhood is reaffirmed. This is one simple reason to celebrate this colorful festival.
Holi is celebrated the day following the full moon day, sometime end of February or early march every year but Holi is usually a 2 day celebration.
Day 1- The 1st day being celebrated as Holika Dahan or (symbolic Burning of Holika) also has known as Choti Holi (small holi). On this day Holika’s images are burnt and people even light bonfires to remember the story of Holika and Prahalad. Mothers with their babies take five rounds of the bon- fire in a clockwise direction to seek the blessing of the God of fire.
Day 2- The 2nd day that is the main day of holi is called Dhulandi or Parva’, when the celebration begins with the eldest male member who sprinkles color on the members of his family. People smear colored powder and spray each other with colored water. Even unknown people are not spared of this ritual on this day. The deities of Radha and Krishna are worshipped and smeared with colors. Not many people mind being smeared with color on this day and one can get away by just saying ‘Bura Na Mano – Holi Hai’.
This time Holi comes on 23rd March 2016. So happy holi to all…..
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