Festivals bring cultures and traditions to life. Holi is one of the most significant Hindu festivals it is celebrated not only in India but around the world. It is popularly known as the ‘festival of colors’ and vibrant colors are used to brighten up the day. It is an ancient celebration which is welcomed with a lot of excitement even by the modern generation. Like other religious celebrations, Holi is an event that celebrates the togetherness and happiness of people. Find here complete details and information about Holi Festival :
History of Holi Festival
The festival of Holi has a history of centuries. It is mentioned in the ancient scriptures of Hinduism known as the Puranas and also in the Dasakumara Charita. The highly celebrated poet of old times, Kalidasa, also mentions the festival of Holi in his religious verses. The roots of the festival can be traced back to the 4th century and even before as per Hindu mythology. With the stepping of European colonizers in India, the festival of Holi spread to the other parts of the world. Today it is celebrated with various beliefs in different places, but the motto to spread happiness and colors stays the same through a span of centuries.
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Significance of Holi Festival
There are more than one mythical events related to Holi. The most popular remains the Vishnu legend and the Krishna legend.
The first legend signifies Holi as a festival of triumph of good over evil. It extracts its meaning from the mythical event when the King of demons, Hiranyakashipu wanted to kill Prahlada, his son because he worshipped Lord Vishnu. After all failed attempts, he ordered his sister Holika, who owned a cloth which was resistant to fire, to sit with Prahlada on a pyre. Miraculously, the cloth covered Prahlada instead and protected him while Holika burned. Afterward, Lord Vishnu’s avatar, Narasimha killed Hiranyakashipu. Therefore, the goodness of Prahalada’s devotion conquered the evil actions of Hiranyakashipu and Holika. To commemorate this event, on the evening before the day of Holi the ritual of Holika Dahan is performed.
Another interesting myth behind Holi is related to the ‘god of love and happiness’, Krishna. After his birth, Krishna encountered the evil Putana and consumed poison through her breast milk. This incident resulted in his dark skin color. Krishna used to admire fair-skinned Radha but felt inferior due to his color and often complained to his mother. So, mother Yashoda suggested Krishna ask Radha to apply any color on his face. Radha colored Krishna’s face and thereafter they became lovers. This legend is widely celebrated in Braj and Mathura region of India where Holi, also called Rang Panchami, is filled with colors, flowers, and love.
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When is Holi celebrated?
Holi is an annual festival which welcomes spring and bid a farewell to winters, this is the reason it is also named as the ‘festival of spring’. The celebration date varies with the lunar calendar. In the Hindu lunar-solar calendar month, the last full moon day is celebrated as Holi. Due to its connection with spring, the festival, to some people, signifies fertile land, abundance, and fine harvests. It also marks the start of Hindu New Year, therefore, new beginnings. The festival is mostly celebrated in March. In 2021, Holi will be celebrated on the 29th of March.
How is Holi celebrated?
The celebration of Holi is unique to every region in India and other countries. It is recognized with numerous local names- Phaguwa, Shimga, Dola, and many more. The few things that remain universal are colors, dancing, and happiness. The native ritual in some parts of India is Holika Dahan, a pyre is set up and burned on the evening prior to Holi to imitate the legend.
The next day people celebrate with colored powders, water, and music. After the exciting play is over, the festival ends with a meeting and greeting of families and relatives. In other regions of India, there are different rituals attached to the festival of Holi. Also, it is celebrated for a varied number of days- two days in Gujarat and Assam, six days in Manipur and Maharashtra, and sixteen days in Vrindavan.
Where is Holi celebrated in India?
Holi is celebrated in every state, city, and village of India. Also, Indians living in foreign countries celebrate Holi with similar excitement and exhilaration. From North to South and East to West, India welcomes the spring season with the colors of Holi. In Uttar Pradesh, some people burn Holika and celebrate the victory of good while others are covered in colors of love and worship Krishna and Radha.
In Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Bihar, Holika Dahan is the major ritual. In Gujarat, Manipur, and Odisha the focus remains on worshiping Krishna and Radha. In Uttarakhand, West Bengal, and Goa, the festival is filled with music and dance. Within India, the festival can be experienced in unique ways depending on the location.
Special Delicacies to enjoy in Holi
Festivals are incomplete without the most delicious flavors to serve during happy moments. The mouth-watering sweets like Barfi, Gujiya, and Malpua makes the celebration more joyous. The Dahi Vada and Kachori are great ways to fulfill your spicy and salty cravings during the festival. And, the popular Lassi brings life to every Holi party. No matter where never miss out on the amazing food during Holi.
Things to Buy During Holi
Just like other occasions, you must shop for the right things before Holi to enjoy it better. Light-colored Indian attires are the best outfits for this festival. Buying good quality and variety of colors is important along with balloons to fill with water. You can buy other additional tools and stuff to take the fun higher.
Tips and Precautions during Holi
The rituals involve burning a big pyre so you should stay careful and be vigilant of children. Also, choosing ‘herbal gulal’ instead of harsh colors will help you have a safer Holi. Being cautious for the environment and responsible towards other animals is what we need the most to the ‘Happiest Holi’.