Holi Date: March 8
Holi Festival is celebrated in India.
One of the more popular festivals emerging out of the mystical land of India is Holi. The festival that is believed to have had its origins millions of years ago where gods ruled the earth is a celebration of good over evil. The festival celebrates the burning of a Hindu demoness, Holika. The story goes that Prahlad, the son of the demon lord Hiranyakashipu was a staunch devotee of Lord Vishnu. Hiranyakashipu was a staunch devotee of Lord Brahma and by incessant penance to his god, had attained the power of invincibility.
It was granted that Hiranyakashipu could not be killed during night or day not on earth or sea and not inside or outside the house. When Hiranyakashipu was angered at his son’s devotion to Lord Vishnu, it was his will to kill him. With several measures attempted at killing his son, Hiranyakashipu asked his own sister, the demoness Holika to step into the fire with Prahlad in her lap. The festival of Holi celebrates the death of Holika in this fire and the miraculous escape of Prahlad.
Holi Traditions and Activities
Holi is a festival that is observed with a lot of fan fare in India. The festival is one that is celebrated by all the religions in India. The festival although being associated more with the Hindus than anyone else, is one that is devoid of religion based celebration. The celebrations in the more staunch part of India involve bonfires that are recreated to depict the burning of Holika.
Most parts of India however celebrate the festival by throwing colors on each other’s bodies. The colors are mixed with water and are applied on each other. This celebration originated and was made famous by Lord Krishna, who is said to have applied colors to the Gopis (cow herd girls) around him. The act was done in order to make Krishna not feel down because of his darker complexion as compared to that of Radha.
The practice is a regular sight on the streets of India during the occasion of Holi. The celebrations itself can take place anywhere from as short a duration as 3 days to as many as 16 days long. The festival apart from being widely celebrated in India also has its followers in nearby Pakistan and Nepal. There is also a distinct association that Holi has with love.
Holi is celebrated almost throughout India, except for a few places in the south where traditional North Indian communities are few. The festival also is common practice in Indian populated places like the United Kingdom, West Indies, Mauritius and Fiji.
Interesting facts about Holi Festival
The God of Love Kamadeva is said to have an influence on the festival as well and its occurrence in the spring months does strengthen the festival’s association with love.
Among the places to celebrate Holi is Uttar Pradesh, where the town of Barsana plays host to an amazing display of women beating men with sticks and accompanying the celebrations with songs and dance.