848 – Festival of color and powder, Holi

Holi is a festival which technically welcomes summer. After Holi is celebrated, cold water baths happen and one wears cool, cotton clothes. The message of Holi is to spread love, peace and unity. It is celebrated on the full moon in the month of March, or in the Phalguna month which is the twelfth month of the Hindu calendar. It corresponds with February – March in the Gregorian calendar.

Holi is celebrated to celebrate the victory of good over evil. Hiranyakashipu the demon king was blessed with a boon that neither a man nor an animal could kill him. He became all powerful, and wanted to be worshipped like a God. He asked his only son to worship him as the only God but his son, little Prahlad said that he was a devotee of Vishnu, and he refused. Hirankashipu was enraged and asked his sister, Holika to kill him. Holika had been granted a boon by Brahma, which made her fire proof. So, she sat on a pyre with Prahlad. Prahlad prayed to Vishnu for safety, and Prahlad was saved whereas Holika burnt to cinders. Holika was safe in a fire, if she was alone. The boon covered only her and since Prahalad was with her, she burnt to death.

The blue skin

There are other stories as to why Holi is celebrated. Krishna was very much in love with Radha and she was very fair, however Krishna’s color was blue. Krishna was upset about it and asked his mother, Yashodha what to do. Yashoda in jest said that he could paint Radha’s face. He did just that and that is how Holi started with colored powder rubbed on the face.

The day before Holi, Holika Dahan takes place in which a person burns his evil deeds in a fire made from cow dung, wood, grass and cow dung. Then a vow is taken to start a new life.

Holi is also celebrated for fertility in the fields and the arrival of new life. Farmers pray to the god for a healthy harvest.

Aim Hrim Klim

Photo by Varun Verma on Unsplash

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