Holi is the festival of colours. It is celebrated on a full moon day of the month of Phalgun (March) every year. This festival is celebrated with happiness, gaiety, fun, and enthusiasm throughout the country. People wait eagerly for this festival and both the young and the old celebrate it with joy. Holi is a festival of love and unity. The use of colour in this festival spreads mutual love and brotherhood among all. It nurtures the spirit of togetherness and belonging among all irrespective of differences in caste, creed, religion, and social status.
The festival of Holi brings positivity to the lives of the people. As the festival is observed in the month of spring, the beautiful nature adds more colours to it. This festival symbolizes the triumph of good over evil.
There are many mythological stories attached to this festival. Some saints say that this festival is celebrated because Lord Krishna killed his evil Uncle Kansa and freed the common people from the atrocities of Kansa.
Another mythological story says that this festival of colours was celebrated when Hiranyakashyap was killed. Hiranyakashyap was a very cruel, over-ambitious king. He got the blessing from Brahma that no man could kill him. He became so self-centered that he ordered the people in his kingdom to pray and worship him only. He tortured his own people if they went against him. His only son Prahlad was a staunch devotee of Lord Narayana. He went against his father’s wishes, which made Hiranyakashyap very angry. He decided to kill his own son. The evil king ordered his sister, Holika to burn him in the fire. Holika had a boon of not getting burnt in the fire, hence she was assigned the task of the evil act. She took Prahlad on her lap and sat on the pile of woods. The fire was lit and then a very unexpected thing happened. Prahlad’s immense faith and devotion to Lord Narayana saved him and Holika was burnt into ashes. Lord Vishnu took the form of Narsingh (who was half animal and half man) and took Hiranyakashyap on his lap and tore his stomach apart with his claws and killed him. Hence, that day was celebrated as Holi with great joy because it was the victory of good over evil.
Much before the day of Holi, different types of colours, caps, dresses, are sold in the local markets. It keeps the markets crowded for days. People flock to sweet shops to buy popular kinds of sweets. The most prevalent sweet during this festival is ‘Gujiya’. Holi brings everyone together. They forget all past animosity and become friends again.
This festival is celebrated over two days. On the first day, Holika is burnt. Many days before this festival, wooden planks are collected and piled. The dung cakes are put with the wooden planks and at night at the auspicious hour, this heap of firewood is set on fire. People sing Holi Bhajans and go around this Holika. They also call this Holika Dahan. After this, people embrace each other and wish for their prosperity. The next day is called ‘Dulahandi’ – the day of coloured water and ‘Gulal’.
In villages, towns, and cities, people celebrate this festival in groups. They come out of their houses and assemble at a commonplace, and smear ‘gulal’ on each other. The children play with their ‘pichkaris’ and buckets full of coloured water. They throw it on friends, relatives, and passers-by. The whole atmosphere is full of colours. A special kind of drink called ‘Thandaai’ is made on this occasion. Also, people add Bhang, a special type of leaf in this drink. They grind the leaves and mix them with the drink. Most people play Holi in the morning and by the afternoon they enjoy the feasts and savour delicacies that are arranged for this occasion of Holi. Sweets are distributed among close relatives and friends.
In many remote places, Holi is celebrated for five days and the last day of the celebration is called Rang Panchami. The Government has declared it a public holiday. All schools, colleges, and offices are closed on this day. Communities conduct Rangoli competitions where they need to make designs with colourful Gulal. Many people from foreign countries come to experience this festival of colours in India.
Holi should be played very safely. One should use good organic colours. Many times, harmful chemicals are mixed with the colours and they can damage the eyes and the skin. There should be an awareness created among the people about the safety measures of this festival.
Holi spreads the message of love and brotherhood. It is a symbol of unity throughout the nation. This festival brings people together so we should celebrate this festival with sanity and joy.
Q1. In Which Month of the Year is Holi Celebrated?
Ans. Holi is celebrated in the month of March on a full moon day.
Q2. What does Holi Symbolize?
Ans. Holi symbolizes the victory of good over evil.
Q3. How did This Festival of Holi Originate?
Ans. Holi originated from the Hindu mythology legend of evil and arrogant king Hiranyakashyap who thought himself to be all-powerful. He wanted everyone to worship him but his own son Prahlad went against his wishes and worshiped Lord Vishnu. He wanted to kill Prahlad with the help of his sister Holika in the fire, but Prahlad was saved and Holika was burnt into ashes. Lord Vishnu took the form of Narsingh and killed Hiranyakashyap. Hence, to commemorate this victory of good over evil, Holi was celebrated.
Q4. What Special Kind of Drink and Sweets are Made on this Occasion?
Ans. A special drink called Bhang or Thandaai and a special sweet, Gujiya is made on this occasion.