Festival of colours Holi

Posted: March 11, 2009 in Festivals
Tags: , , , , , ,

When I reached office, most of my colleagues’ faces were smeared with colours. One of them came and smeared my face too. In our office, Holi spirit begun two-three days ahead and on the day of Holika Dahan, all the faces looked funny, with different colours. One of them came and asked that there would be Holi bash on the terrace the next day and if I would like to join them. I wondered if that was possible as our work would have begun by that time. At last, the D-Day came and everybody was talking about the bash and most of them reached the terrace to play with colours. They threw coloured powder and coloured water at each other. After playing in colours, they came down and everybody was enjoying the moment. Can’t post any of their pictures, I don’t want to hurt them 😉

holi2a

Very few were spared from colours and I was one of those lucky fellows. I remembered my school and college days and how we used to throw colours on our friends. All sweet memories…

Holi, the festival of colours, is celebrated during spring season in not only in India, but also in Surinam, Guyana, Trinidad, the UK, Fiji and Nepal. It is celebrated on the full moon day in the Hindu calendar month of Phalgun.
There are a few stories which tell about the origin of Holi. One among is of Prahlad’s story.

Hiranyakashipu was a king of demons. Lord Brahma had granted him a boon which made it almost impossible for anyone to kill him. For, during the penance he had asked the Lord to grant him a boon which would make him deathless, as he should not be killed during day or night, inside or outside home, not on earth or on sky; neither by man nor animal, neither by astra nor by shastra. After that, he became very powerful, declared himself as the God in the kingdom and started pestering people to worship him. Despite all his orders and threats, his own son Prahlad, who was a staunch devotee of Lord Vishnu, refused to worship his father as the God. Hiranyakashipu tried to kill his son by poisoning, him, ordering to be trampled by elephants, bitten by poisonous snakes, but all in vain. Lord Vishnu protected Prahlad in all the attempts, which made the demon king more furious. So, he ordered his sister Holika to sit on a pyre with Prahlad. Holika had a magical shawl which protected her from the fire. When the pyre was lit, a strong wind blew removing the shawl from Holika and wrapping Prahlad. Holika was thus burnt and Prahlad was saved in the fire test. So, the burning of Holika is celebrated as Holika Dahan and Holi.

Lord Krishna is also believed to have popularised the colour festival by playing pranks on gopis in Gokul. When he was younger, Krishna is believed to have complained to his mother Yashodha about the contrast between his dark colour and his consort Radha’s fair colour. Yashodha applied colour to Radha’s face to make Krishna happy. And thus, the Holi was celebrated in all the households.

Holika Dahan is also called as Kama Dahan in South India. Kamadeva, the God of love, was destroyed when he shot his love arrow at Lord Shiva to disrupt his penance and help Parvati to marry Shiva. Lord Shiva opened his third eye and the gaze reduced Kama’s body to ashes. When Kama’s wife Rati (passion) begged Lord Shiva’s mercy on her husband, Shiva restored him, but only as a mental image, representing the true emotional and mental state of love rather than physical lust. The Holi bonfire is believed to be celebrated in commemoration of this event.

Whatever be the reason behind celebrating the festival, people get together for the occasion and spread love and harmony through colours.

holia

Happy Holi!

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