Holi is one of the biggest festivals of Hindus. According to the Hindu calendar, Holi is celebrated on the eve of the full moon in the month of Phalguna. This year Holi will be celebrated on 29th March 2021. The festival of colour Holi has two significances. One is the triumph of good over evil and the other is the arrival of spring. The night before the Holi is celebrated as Holika Dahan.
On the festival of Holi, people throw coloured powder and water on each other to celebrate the victory of good over evil. It is such a vibrant occasion that no one can resist the celebrations. On the occasion of Holi, all the Indians come together as one no matter what is their religion or caste.
HISTORY & SIGNIFICANCE OF HOLI:
According to the Puranas, the legend of Holi is even before the Ramayana and Mahabharata. As per the story, a mighty demon, Hiranyakashipu ruled during the time of Satyuga. Hiranyakashapu used to hate Lord Vishnu as the Varaha avatar of Lord Vishnu had killed his brother Hiranyaksha. He was so egoistic that he wanted everyone to consider him a God. Hiranyakashapu’s son, Prahlad was a committed devotee of Lord Vishnu, which makes the king very angry. In his anger, he even tried to kill his son several times but failed every time. One of the methods of killing Prahlad was to make him sit with Holika in a fire. Holika was Hiranyakashipu’s sister who had a magical cloak that could make her impermeable to the burning flames. As Prahlad was the devotee of Lord Vishnu so he helped Prahlad by protecting him and burning Holika in the fire. On the next morning, the local people celebrated as they had finally gotten rid of the demoness.
Another story states that Lord Krishna was in love with Radha but he has a fear that Radha won’t accept him as he was dark and she was fair. So, Krishna’s foster mother Yashoda gave him advice to spear coloured powder on Radha’s face. He actually did the same and it was also the beginning of their relationship.
HOLI CELEBRATIONS ACROSS INDIA:
Every year the festival of Holi is celebrated all over India. People start preparing for the festival a few days before the main event. The night before the Holi is known as Holika Dahan in which huge piles of wood are burned signifying the burning of Holika. The next morning all the people apply colour and throw water on each other to mark the celebration. A group of people (tolis) roam around in the colonies and smear people they see on the way with colours.
People prepare sweets including the Gujiyas that are prepared in almost every Hindu home. Another important part of the Holi preparation is a drink called Thandai that is mixed with bhaang. In the big cities like Mumbai and Delhi, people organize parties in their farmhouses, resorts and hotels.
In the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand, Holi is celebrated in a unique way. People gather in each other’s houses several months before the main day and sing different songs along with the harmonium and tabla.
If you want to see a completely different view of Holi, you can visit Goa. In Goa, Holi is celebrated as Shigmotsav. During the celebration, the Konkani Hindus get ready in vibrant attire and dance with flags. They prepare merry in temple courtyards. The celebration continues for 9 days and ends with colourful floats.
However, the Holi celebration in the Braj region which comprises Mathura and Vrindavan is the biggest one in the country. In Barsana the people play Lathmar Holi in which women chase men with sticks signifying an event that happened between Lord Krishna and his gopis.
Wishing everyone a very Happy & Safe Holi!