Holi- A celebration of Vibrant India

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Holi brings a picture of vivid hues that taints the sky as people ushers in spring with the kaleidoscopic festival—known by various names, from Rangpanchami to Lathimaar Holi Rangwali Holi, Dhuleti, Dhulandi, even Phagwah. It begins on the evening of the Full Moon – Purnima, a period in the Hindu calendar month of Phalgun. The evening is Holika Dahan or Chhoti Holi, and the next day is Holi. The festival celebrates the victory of good over evil and also thanks for a good harvest.

Holi- A celebration of Vibrant India
Group Celebration

It is an impeccable time for people to rejoice, play and laugh, and meet others—a day when I see the streets and homes doused in almost every colour imaginable. Colours have significance, religious or otherwise. There is a colour for nearly every occasion, moment, or celebration that symbolizes a force in life; thus, colour and life are inseparable. Along with colours, Holi too has a suitable choice of edibles and sweetmeats. And how can I forget the intoxicating bhang characteristic of this festival?

Holi- A celebration of Vibrant India
Colourful Faces

But why is Holi celebrated? From where did this festival derive its name? Why is it the festival of colours? Well, the celebration has numerous reasons. 17th-century writing confirms Holi as the celebration that praised agribusiness and remembered plentiful spring harvests and the prolific land. It stamps the start of the new year letting old conflicts and grudges go, mending the bridges, forgiving and forgetting. 

Holi- A celebration of Vibrant India

Holi is derived from Holika, the wicked sister of demon king Hiranyakashipu. Per our mythology, King Hiranyakashipu was a demon king who earned a blessing that made him immortal and indestructible. Nor to be killed by any human or animal, in the sky or on land. And as we know, power brings arrogance; hence he thought of himself as God. He commanded everyone to worship him. However, his son Prahlada a devotee of Lord Vishnu refused to worship him. The refusal infuriated the King; he subjected his son to cruel punishments. But it did not wither Prahlada’s determination. 

Lord Narsimha Killing Hiranyakashyup

Hence one day, Holika tricked Prahlada into sitting on a pyre with her, as she was covered in a cloak that made her immune to fire, not Prahlada. Hence as the fire became powerful, the cloak flew from Holika and covered Prahlada. Holika burnt to death, symbolizing the victory of evil over good. Therefore Holika Dhan is celebrated the night before Holi. Later, Lord Vishnu emerged from the pillars in the Narsingh avatar to kill the demon king Hiranyakashipu. That’s interesting! Isn’t it? Indian mythology is vast.

Holika Dahan

The central part of the festival is throwing coloured water balloons, squirting coloured water, and tossing fistfuls of powdered colours. All children and teenagers line up at strategic vantage points, armed with buckets of coloured water and little water balloons, waiting to attack

Holi- A celebration of Vibrant India
Colour Splash

And why is it so? The story comes from Lord Krishna, one of the Hindu gods. The festival is a celebration of love. Legend states that young Lord Krishna used to crib to his mother about his blue skin compared to Radha. So mother Yashoda suggested her son go and playfully colour Radha. Hence Lord Krishna went to the neighbouring village to colour Radha and other Gopis. In return, the women beat him playfully with sticks, leading to Lathmar Holi’s tradition. 

Holi- A celebration of Vibrant India
LaMar Holi

Finally, these colours, why so many? Because it has to do with the Indian psyche. Red is a mark of fertility, love, beauty, and, most importantly, a sign of matrimony. On the other hand, Yellow is another vital synonymous with turmeric, an ingredient of great importance at auspicious functions across religions. Different colours that tease the skies on Holi include blue, the colour of the revered God in Hinduism, Lord Krishna. Green symbolizes new beginnings and harvest. In Hinduism, Saffron is often associated with righteousness and strength. Hence the colours speak about diverse India, revelry and its belief. 

Holi-Celebration of Colours

Hence the spirit of the festival remains the same across all classes, castes, and religions as it showcases togetherness. Holi is celebrated as the onset of spring by filling their day and life with the colours of joy, prosperity, happiness, and peace. 



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