Holi - Story behind the Festival of Colours
What is Holi?
Holi, the “festival of colors”, is a popular, ancient, and the most vibrant of all Hindu festivals. It marks the end of winter in India and welcomes the spring season. On this festive day, people play with colors, meet and greet one another and create new beginnings to celebrate the victory of good over evil.
The story behind Holi
Legend has it that there was a powerful king named Hiranyakashipu who was a devil and was known for his cruelty. However, his own son, Prahlada, was a devotee of Lord Vishnu and refused to worship his father. Angry with the disobedience of his son, Hiranyakashipu tried killing his son a number of times, but nothing worked. He then asked his evil sister, Holika, who possessed a special power of being immune to fire, for help. To kill Prahlada, she tricked him into sitting with her on a pyre. But due to her evil intentions, her power became ineffective and she was burned to ashes. Meanwhile, Prahlada gained this immunity and was saved. This is why the first day of Holi is celebrated as Holika Dahan and symbolizes the victory of good over evil.
Who celebrates it?
Holi primarily a Hindu festival, but everyone across India and other South Asian countries celebrate this festival to welcome the spring harvest festival with flowers, colors, and love. It’s also gained popularity in many other cultures all around the world.
How is it celebrated?
The night before Holi, people traditionally sing and dance around a bonfire to burn bad omens. The morning after is when the most popular part of the celebration takes place. People dress up in all white and throw dry colors and water balloons at each other. The most common colors are red (symbolizing love and fertility), yellow (symbolizing turmeric, a natural remedy in India), blue (symbolizing the Hindu God Krishna), and green (symbolizing new beginnings). After that, people share sweets such as gujiya, mathri, malpuas, and other traditional delicacies.