There have been numerous reports, reviews and rumors about the Holi festival in India. People from all over the world have found so much interest in the festival and have as a result taken interest in the country as a whole. If you are looking for detailed information about the festival, then you have come to the right place. In this article, we will be shedding light on some of unknown facts about the Holi celebration in India.
On a yearly basis, millions of people come together in India, Nepal and all over the world to celebrate the renowned Hindu festival of Holi. This celebration occurs under a series of technicolor powdered clouds which are mostly regarded as the trademark of the Holi festival.
Holi is often referred to as a rowdy festival of colors which points towards a celebration of love, fertility, vibrancy of spring as well as the victory of good over evil. This has in many ways inspired the production of many movies, music and also a glut of victorious imitations. In this article, you’ll find out what festival is all about, what the colors indicate and why they are used, when it is celebrated, why it is celebrated and what actually takes place during the celebration.
What is Holi festival about?
The celebration of Holi festival is said to commemorate the triumph of good over evil which is brought about by destroying and burning the Horika demoness.
This idea was revealed to have been enabled by the unwavering devotion of the people to Lord Vishnu who happens to be the God of Preservation. The name “Holi”, which means festival of colors, was derived from the reincarnation of Lord Vishnu known as Lord Krishna. It is believed that she was fond of playing pranks on the girls in the village by soaking them in both rain and colors. Holi festival often marks the end of winter as well as the greatness of the upcoming spring season.
What do the colors indicate and why are they used?
In history, the “Gulal” (color) was made of flower extracts and turmeric paste which is no longer the case nowadays because the synthetic version is what they use now.
There are four major colors used during Holi and each them have a different meaning. The blue color is the color of Lord Krishna, the red color is used to reflect both fertility and love while the yellow color represents healing and holiness and, green color is used to represent new beginnings and spring.
When Holi is celebrated?
The Holi festival usually takes place when it is the last full moon of the Hindu lunar month of Pahlguna. What this simply means is that the Holi festival can fall anytime between late February and late March on the Gregorian calendar.
Holi celebrates most of the traditional associations such as vigor, youth, playfulness and fertility.
There has been no real evidence or proof about when Holi festival first began but there have been reports referencing both the old Indian texts and the Puranas in the 4th century poetry and also in Ratnaval, the 7th century play.
Why Holi is celebrated?
There has been no single reason or significance associated with the Holi festival but instead, the festival is associated with lists of stories from the mythology of India.
The story of how good overcame evil is the most popular one among these stories and it is in the guises of both the Holika demand and Prahlad Prince who worshipped Lord Vishnu instead of the god that his father claimed to be and this enraged the king. King Hiranyakshyap therefore planned a conspiracy to kill his wayward offspring by finding a way to make Prince Prahlad sit on the lap of the King’s sister, Demon Holika.
However, when the fire was set alight, the innocent Prince Prahlad just recited the name of Lord Vishnu and he escaped unharmed. This was indeed alarming as the Holika demon herself was set ablaze. There are some other versions of the story and there are other cute and sweet stories that are connected to the significance celebrating Holi festival such as the story of Lord Krishna and Radha. Lord Krishna was said to be in love with Radha but due to the difference in his skin color, he was always embarrassed around Radha. Thus, Lord Krishna took to his mother’s advice and sprinkled blue paint on Radha so as to make them have the same skin color and this worked well. Hence, it is said that Lord Krishna enchants the world, whereas the real saying is that it is Radha that enchanted Lord Krishna.
What really happens during Holi festival?
The Holi festival usually takes place for about two days which is considered to be a short period by the standard of India where some other religious festivals last for about two months such as the Kumbh Mela festival.
However, in some regions, it is usually drawn out for much longer period. Holika Dahan Woods, as well as dung pyres, are set ablaze on the first day to represent the victory of good over evil.
We recommend that you moisturize your hands before starting so that the powder can come off easily. During the festival, there is less security for items like mobile phones. Thus, it is advisable that you don’t take your phones, car keys or anything that can be easily taken from you.
Final thoughts on Holi
Everyone is pretty free during Holi festival but do not take this as a license to act improperly. There is a lot of local bhang and other drinks flowing freely so it is important to take note of inebriated groups of men as a young lady.
Sadly, rape is common in India so you are advised to go for Holi in the morning and get back to your hotel by the afternoon before people begin to get really drunk and misbehave. Ask your hotel if they have special Holi parties as this is common and will provide a safe environment to enjoy the ambiance and beauty of the ceremony.
There’s also a lot of Holi food and drinks available. You should try the Thandai, but make sure to confirm that it’s not a batch to which bhang has been added to so that you’re not intoxicated. Guija is also a common Holi snack that you can enjoy.