Holi is a festival of colors which brings a lot of happiness, joy and makes everyone’s life more colorful. People enjoy the festival of holi every year in the Varanasi city and all around the country to have great joy. Holi is the indication of advent of spring season where everyone flooding out on the street to rejoice together this great occasion without having a little bit tension of their economical status.
The main day of the holi festival is celebrated in many regions by a number of names called as Dhuli (Sanskrit name), Dhulandi, Dhulendi and Dhulheti. People make a heap of the wood and burn that heap indicating the burning Holika (Holika Dahan) with the Prahlad. Devotees make a prayer at that place and hug each other to offer respect and enjoy festival. People then apply the ash (from burned Holika) on their forehead. Next morning to the Holika Dahan, people enjoy holi by applying the colors to each other. People go to everyone’s home to meet them, apply tilak, and distribute sweets which indicate that there is no conflict among them at the great occasion of the holi. Holi is rejoiced at the closing stage of the winter season at the full moon day of Phalguna means February/March. Holi lovers enjoy holi in many ways, they through balloon (filled with colors) to each other; some of them apply the color directly to them and someone uses pichkari to through the liquid color.
Holi 2023 would be celebrated at Wednesday on 8th of March with the great joy and enthusiasm in India. The coming year Holi will bring a lot of happiness, joy and new expectations in everyone’s life.
History of Holi
Holi, a religious Hindu festival celebrated all over the India by people with a great joy and enthusiasm. Earlier, it was celebrated in India and Nepal only. But, currently it is celebrated almost all the corners of India and other countries as well. It is also enjoyed by the name of Pagwah at some places in India. The significance of the holi festival is very special for the people of Braj region, which is customarily linked to the Lord Krishna, Radha, Mathura, Nandagaon, Vrindavan, and Barsana. These places in India have become most famous tourist destinations during whole season of the year.
Significance of the Holi Festival
There is a great reason behind celebrating the holi festival by the people of Hindu religion. In Vaishnavism, there was a famous demon king named, Hiranyakashyap. He was very strong demon and did a hard ‘Tap’ in order to make happy to Lord Brahma for granting a boon. He was successful in doing so and made sure from the Lord Brahma that he will never be killed by any man, woman or animal, not by astra or shastra, not in a day or night, not inside or outside, not on the earth or in the sky and many more. Lord Brahma was very happy with his hard ‘Tap’ and had given him such type of boon. By getting such a boon, he became very powerful in the whole universe and won the Heaven as well as Earth. He ordered the human beings to stop worshipping Gods otherwise he will kill them. He forced people to start worshipping only him, as he was the only God (according to him).
He had a son, named Prahlada, a devotee of the Lord Vishnu. By seeing the worship of the Prahlad towards Lord Vishnu, Hiranyakashyap became very angry and forced him to not to worship the Lord Vishnu and worship his own father. Prahlad was very daring boy, he never frightened with his father and continued worshipping the Lord Vishnu. Hiranyakashyap had started puzzling his son by poisoning, trampling with elephant, keeping him hungry, biting with the poisonous snake, frying him in the boiled oil, but Prahlada was remained unscratched of those. All the attempts of the Hiranyakashyap were being failed and he became angrier than before.
At last, he ordered his demoness sister named ‘Holika’ to sit in the fire by having Prahlad in her lap. She was booned by the Lord that she will never get damaged from the fire. So, she did what she had ordered by his brother, Hiranyakashyap. Prahlada was continued worshipping the Lord Vishnu even sitting in the fire in the lap of the Holika. How embarrassing that event was, but there happened an amazing scene. Prahlad was completely unharmed by the fire but Hiolika got died by burning with the fire. That day, means the liberation of the Prahlad and fiery of the Holika, is renowned as the Holi festival every year.
After all, Hiranyakashyap was killed by the Narasimha (considered as the embodiment of the Lord Vishnu, not a man or animal) by His nails (not by astra or shastra), at the chaukhat (not inside or outside, not in the sky or earth), in the Godhuli time (not in a day or night).
There is another reason also to celebrate holi in the Hinduism. Mathura, the birth place of the Lord Krishna where he grew up and met with the Radha. The holi festival is enjoyed by the Mathuravasi for 16 days till Rangpanchmi (the fifth full moon day after Panchami) to commemorate the great love of the Radha and Krishna.
Some more reasons are:
- Holi is celebrated to enjoy the occurrence of the new season.
- Holi is celebrated to enjoy the new harvests as well as the fertile land.
- People welcome spring season with the colors and say goodbye to the winter.
Holi lowers are generally used to of the holi songs at least 15 days before and 15 days after the main date of the holi. At the day of holi, there is no gap between any age, status, gender as well as caste. Everybody enjoy holi without any strictness and the whole environment become fill with the great enthusiasm, fun and joy. People apply abir to each other on the forehead. Youngers take ashirvaad from the elders.
People, in the Barsana, Uttar Pradesh play a most famous and unique type of holi known as the lath mar holi in a very big compound of the Radha Rani temple. There is a special process in the lath mar holi, men are beaten by the women through sticks and women sing the holi songs as well as shout Sri Radhey or Sri Krishna in between the song. This event takes place in front of the thousands of witness.
People in Mathura and Vrindavan celebrate holi in very traditional custom specially by worshipping the Lord Krishna. They enjoy holi for sixteen days. A Ganga mela and holi mela takes place in Kanpur at the occasion of holi. Holi Milan event performed at the evening of holi in which a group of people visit house of their friends in order to put across their thankfulness by applying abir.
There is a variety of holi with different names which are played in many areas of India. Some of are:
- Kumauni holi
- Baithki holi or Nirvan Ki holi
- Khari holi
- Mahila holi
Holi Festival in Varanasi
Holi is celebrated in Varanasi with the great fervor and enthusiasm. Holika lovers celebrate holi with the name Phagva. In the night of Phalgun Poornima, people in Varanasi burn woods and dung cakes in heap. They roast the Jau grain in that fire and make a tilak on their forehead with the Holika ash. Just before the Holika Dahan (evening of Holika Dahan), people from all the home get massage of their whole body with the ripe mustard ubtan and burn the remains from body (ubtan waste) in the Holika. It is considered that, doing so body becomes free from all the ailments and diseases for the whole year.
People accumulate at the time of Holika Dahan and eldest person of the group or purohit start burning the Holika. They make a pray and greet each other by applying abir on the forehead. Some children of the group enjoy firing crackers in front of the Holika. Next day of the Holika Dahan is celebrated as the holi with the multiple colors, abirs etc. They also enjoy bhang with the delicious pakoras and thandai to fully rejoice the festival. Sweets distribution and greetings process takes place in the evening. Children and youths play colors whole day with the extreme pleasure at this festival. Some people also use mud in place of colors. Some people sing the Folk songs and dance in the evening at the tune of dholak and harmonium.
Preparations for the Holi
People prepare themselves for the big festival Holi at least one month earlier. They do whitewashing of their home, cleaning of the house, decorate their house and purchase some big things to make the holi festival memorable. They make purchasing of the clothes for every member of the house, sweets, colors, abir, pichkari etc. Children purchase balloon, colors, abir, gulal, gun, variety of crackers and many more things necessary for the holi celebration. They also make aloo papad, chips, gughiya, namkin, mathri, dahi bade, pani puri, lassi, thandhai, bhang and a variety of dishes at home to make their holi celebration special. Most of the people celebrate holi by eating dishes of the non-vage.
Is Holi Must to Play
It is considered that the end of the winter (when weather changes from cold to spring) brings a lot of problems such as viral fever, cold, cough etc to children as well as elders. It is must to play the holi with colors as it has many types of medicinal effects. Colors are made up of the flowers of Dhak or Palash, Neem, Haldi, Bilva, Kumkum and many more medicinal herbs (advised by the ayurvedic doctors). So, playing holi with the natural colors is totally safe and beneficial.
Precautions for the Holi 2015
Currently, people celebrate holi using the synthetic colors which are made up of the chemically created industrial dyes and slowly the natural colors are reinstated with the synthetic colors. Synthetic colors cause mild or severe skin or eye irritation, inflammation of skin, asthma, eye allergies, puffiness of the eyes as well as can cause even temporary blindness. A long ago, people were celebrating holi in completely safe manner by using natural colors such as the turmeric, extracts of flowers and leaves, sandalwood powder, etc. Never use health impacting colors for example concentrated colors can cause dermatitis.
Such a fearful reports about the health has stimulated the society to promote the natural and safe holi celebration. The Clean India campaign is a campaign in which children make colors themselves for their Holi celebration. In the meantime, the National Botanical Research Institute (a commercial company) has started to market the herbal dyes to make the holi safe.
Lessen the environmental impact as well to lessen the deforestation by less expenditure of the wood at the occasion of holi. We can replace wood with the other material as well as burn only one Holika as per the community instead of burning more than one Holika for the single community. Synthetic colors also involve with the water pollution as well as the wastage of water in major quantity.
Legend of the Holi
Various legends are associated with the grand Hindu festival, holi. The leading legend of the holi festival is demon King Hiranyakashyap who understood himself a God and ordered to people on the earth to worship him. Even he had tried all the attempt on his own son, Prahlad to get worshipped himself but he denied as Prahlad knows his God is only the Lord Vishnu. Finally, he took help of his sister, Holika and ordered her to sit in the fire with the Prahlad in her lap. By the blessings of Lord Vishnu, Prahlad was totally undamaged from the fire but Holika got died. People celebrate that day every year by the name Holika Dahan which indicates the victory of the truth of over the false.
It is also believed that people celebrate holi festival to remember the pure love of the Lord Krishna and Radha.
Another myth about celebrating the holi is, when Lord Shiva had ruined Kamadeva, who later was given his life for his wife Rati. But, he was given his life only as a mental image. It is considered that holi is celebrated for that event as well.