Holi is a Hindu festival celebrated mainly in India and Nepal. It is also known as the festival of colours, Holi is among the most vibrant festivals of India. It is one of the most significant festivals celebrated in the Hindu religion and people across diverse cultures and regions join in the festivities. Filled with much fun and frolic, every mention of the word Holi draws smile and enthusiasm among people. It is a two day festival which commences on the full moon day falling in month of Falgun, which falls somewhere between the end of February and the middle of March in the Gregorian calendar. This Hindu festival signifies the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring, end of winter, and for many a festive day to greet others, spread happiness and share, and repair broken relationships, and is also celebrated as a thanksgiving for a good harvest.

Holi celebrations start on the night before Holi with a Holika bonfire where people gather, perform religious rituals in front of the bonfire, and pray for health of their family members. The next morning is celebrated as Holi, where participants play, chase and colour each other with dry powder and coloured water, with some carrying water guns and coloured water-filled balloons for their water fight. People visit family and friends to throw coloured powders on each other, laugh and share Holi delicacies, food and drinks.

Holi - 2017

Legend has it.

According to one of the most prominent legend, demon king Hiranyakashyap wanted to kill his son Prahlad, who refused to worship him. The demon king called upon his sister Holika, who had a cloak that protected the person wearing it from fire. One day, he tricked his son to sit on Holika’s lap as she sat upon a bonfire. Mysteriously, the cloak came off Hiranyakashyap’s sister and covered Prahlad instead, causing Holika to burn to ashes. Since then, this day is celebrated as Holika Dahan, which means burning of Holika

The other legend speaks of a young Krishna, who had dark complexion and was jealous of his beloved Radha’s fair skin. One day in a mischievous mood, he applied colour on her face. Following this lore, people to this day apply colour to each other as an expression of love.

Common Rituals

Celebrated with extreme enthusiasm and joy, gulal, abir and pichkaris are synonymous with the festival. People enjoy themselves right from the early hours applying colour to each other and everyone wants to be the first one to apply colour to the other. In this battle of colours, not only does everyone drown in a sea of colours, but also in love and mirth. As the norm of the day is, ‘Bura na mano Holi hai,’ no one takes offense while they are drenched in coloured water and gulal. Adding to the sweetness of the day is gujiya – a celebratory  delicacy offered to everyone who visits homes with colours and partaking in the celebrations. This year Holi falls on 13th of March.
Download the Hindu Calendar to know more about other Hindu festivals, rituals and their legends.

Advertisements