Know the Holi Festival of Colors
Holi festival of colors in India will be celebrated on Monday, 9th, and 10th of Marc wit a vigor that will be unmatched across the globe. People wonder if there is any other festival in the world that is celebrated with so much color, vigor, bonding and group participation like the Holi festival of India.
While there are some other amazing festivals and cultural celebrations across the world, Holi still stands out among them.
Why is the Holi Festival Celebrated in India?
Like many other Indian festivals, the Holi festival signifies the victory of good over evil and has an ancient story attached to it.
Holi however, also celebrates the arrival of spring, end of winter, and for many, an occasion to socialize, meet others, play and laugh, forget and forgive, and repair broken relationships
Holi celebrations actually begin a night before the festival Holi with a ritual of Holika Dahan where people gather, perform religious rituals in front of a pyre of burning wood, a big bonfire for some. Prayers for destroying inner evils are read out and self-promised.
See our list of 10 Must buy items for Holi
Ancient India and Holi
Holika (Sanskrit: होलिका) was a demoness in Hindu Vedic scriptures, who was burnt to death with the help of God Vishnu.
She was the sister of King Hiranyakashipu and aunt of Prahlad.
Long before water balloons and ‘Pichkaaris’ (water gun), Holi was an Indian festival that transpired to become one of the most amusing festivals in the world.
There are stories that date back the origin of Holi and recounts tales in mythology that trace the advent of our attempt at painting the human race more colorful.
Holi has detailed descriptions in ancient texts like the Narad Purana and Bhavishyad Purana (3rd century AD). The festival of “Holikotsav” was also mentioned in the 7th-century work, Ratnavali, by King Harsha.
A stone inscription dated back 300 BC, excavated at Ramgarh in Vindhya province, finds Holikotsav’s reference on it.
Holi festival also finds its place in the sculptures on old shrines’ walls. A mural sculpted in a shrine at Hampi (now in Karnataka), the capital city of Vijayanagar, a South Indian province, depicts a scene of Holikotsav.
A painting in Ahmednagar which sculpted before the 16th century also depicts the Holi celebrations, people spraying colors on each other. Some other paintings and murals such as a painting in Mewar depict the King with his courtiers celebrating Holi.
Holi, also known as Holika, is an age-old Hindu festival. Ancient Hindu scriptures, Purvamimamsa-Sutras, and Kathaka-Grhya-Sutras written by Jaimini explained the history, legend, stories, and significance of the Holi festival.
It is said that Holi was celebrated by Aryans in the early civilization of India (people of Harappa and Mohenzodaro civilizations).
It is also believed that this festival of colors was celebrated even hundreds of years before Jesus Christ. The name of the festival has been changed over the years.
One Other legend behind the origin of Holi is that Lord Krishna as a baby was poisoned by the breast milk of Putana (demoness) and thus he developed the characteristic blue color of his skin.
Also read: Is Mahabharata the real history?
Krishna was not sure if fair-skinned Radha and other girls would like him. Thus he approached Radha and colored her face in some colors.
Radha the love interest of Krishna, accepted him despite the blue color of his skin and from that day the festival of Holi is celebrated with colors.
The Celebration of Colours! Like no other Indian Festival of Holi
The next morning is celebrated as the amazing Holi of colors as we know it. A free-for-all festival of colors, where people smear each other with colors and drench each other.
Water guns and water-filled balloons are also used to play and color each other. Anyone and everyone is fair game, friend or stranger, rich or poor, man or woman, children, and elders.
In 2020, Holi Festival will be celebrated on 10th March, with Holika Dahan on 9th March
In 2021, Holi Festival will be celebrated on 29th March, with Holika Dahan on 28th March
The frolic and fight with colors 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 even foes to throw colored powders on each other, they celebrate, laugh and gossip, then share Holi delicacies, food and drinks.
Interestingly some of the customary drinks include bhang (marijuana), and is perfectly legal to do so! In the evening, after sobering up, people dress up and visit friends and family. It is often also customary to buy a new dress on the occasion of Holi for the whole family.
We have our recommended Indian recipe for you on Holi
It lasts for a night and a day, starting on the evening of the Purnima (Full Moon day). The first evening is known as Holika Dahan or Chhoti Holi and the following day as Holi, Rangwali Holi, Dhuleti, Dhulandi, or Phagwah.
What is the colored powder called ‘Rang’ and what is its origin and significance?
Historically, the ‘Gulal’ was made of turmeric paste, fruits, leaves, and flower extracts. These products being costly were soon replaced by artificial and synthetic colors. Holi is a festival like no other, where on the key slogans used are, ‘Bura Na Mano Holi Hai’. Don’t be upset, its Holi!
People are soaked in various colors from head to toe including hair and most often do not feel bad about it!
The use of synthetic colors leads to various harmful effects of chemicals. Now again the colors are being replaced by herbal alternatives.
The four main powder colors are used to represent different things. Red reflects love and fertility, blue is the color of Krishna, yellow is the color of turmeric and green signifies spring and a new beginning.
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