Holi is one of the most famous festivals of India that is awaited for eagerly. It is the celebration of colours, brotherhood, peace and prosperity that evades all socio-economic and religious gaps and bridges everyone around.
Holi marks the closing of the winter season. According to the Hindu calendar, Holi is celebrated on the last full moon day or Purnima of the month of Falgun. It falls in the month of February-March according to the English calendar.
The Story of Holi
According to the Hindu mythology, the demon king Hiranyakashipu and his sister Holika were given the blessing of being immortal and that no one in the universe could kill him. His son Prahlada was a devotee of Lord Vishnu and out of
rage,Hiranyakashipu tried to kill his son but failed. Finally, he took rescue under his sister, Holika. He asked his son Prahlada to sit in the lap of Holika on the fire. Miraculously, Prahlada was saved by Vishnu while Holika was turned into ashes.
Thus, Holi is a celebration of the 'good' over the 'bad'.
Holi also commemorates the love and romance that existed between Lord Krishna and Radha. There are a number of tales that speak about the various 'ras-leelas' that took place in the cities of Mathura and Vrindavan between Krishna and Radha
It is believed that on this day Lord Shiva annihilated Kamadeva, the God of love.
Other names of Holi
Fagwah (in Assam)
Festival of colours (in English)
Sigmo in Goa
Shimga in Maharashtra
Doljatra (in Bengali/Oriya)
Rituals of Holi
On this day, people play with colours and water, smearing 'gulal' on each other's face. These colours are made with natural ingredients that include neem, kumkum, turmeric and flower extracts.
Huge bonfires are lit in the evening and cow dung cakes, wood, ghee, milk and coconuts are thrown into the fire for worship. This is known as Holika Dahan.
People dance, sing and feast with families and friends and in agricultural societies, Holi is also symbolic of a new harvest season - Rabi.
Big fairs called 'Holi Melas' are held in different cities across Uttar Pradesh and other parts of North India.
In Bengal, Holi is celebrated as Doljatra during which young girls dressed up in white and saffron clothes, adorned with garlands and flowers, sing and dance to traditional tunes. During this event, perfumed colour powder known as 'abir' are
scattered all around that is an expression of joy and happiness. Special sweet dishes like malpua, kheer and basanti sandesh are prepared on this occasion.
In Karnataka, the folk dance style 'Bedara vesha' native to Holi is performed.
In Tamil Nadu, this day is celebrated as Panguni Uthram. It is believed that on this day Rama-Sita, Shiva-Parvati and Muruga-Devsena got married. Also Mahalakshmi Jayanthi is celebrated that commemorates the incarnation of Mahalakshmi from an
ocean of milk.