Immersed in hues of love the colours of Holi speak of the love that people have for you in their hearts. Heavenly blue, sun-kissed yellow, propitious red, vibrant green, pretty pink and soothing purple – are what make Holi a bright and beautiful festival.
When is Holi Festival Celebrate in 2019
Holika Dahan: 20th March 2019
Holi: 21st March 2019 (Colour Day)
Holi is the festival of colours and is fondly celebrated in India by her people on the last full moon day of the Hindu lunisolar calendar. This also marks the beginning of spring. The date usually falls in March, but at times the full moon happens to fall at the end of February.
Why is festivals of Holi Celebrated in India
Holi is celebrated for different reasons in different parts of the nation. Its significance varies according to the region or religion. There is an interesting belief behind each legend, and people celebrate that belief with the same respect each year.
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The Legend of Holika and Prahlada
The story of Prahlada is mentioned in the Bhagvata Purana. Prahlada was born to the king of Asura(demons) Hiranyakashipu and his wife, Kayadha. The proud king was given a boon that he could neither be killed by an animal or a human, neither during the day nor at night, neither in water or land or air, neither indoors nor outdoors, neither by Shastra nor Astra. This made it impossible to kill him. He had become cruel and supercilious and necessitated that all worship him. His son, Prahlada was a devout worshipper of Lord Vishnu and denied to worship his father. Hiranyakashipu used cruel ways to kill his son – he trampled him under the elephant’s feet, threw him from the cliff, tried to drown him in the oceans, left him with serpents.
When all the cruel king’s attempts were in vain his demonic sister, Holika took the responsibility to execute her nephew. She had a magical cloak that protected her from the fire. Holika sat on a pyre with her nephew but the cloak protected Prahlad instead of her, and she was burnt to ashes. Hindus burn Holika a day before Holi and rejoice the triumph of good over evil.
Hiranyakashipu did not give up and continued to torment his son in various ways. One day he roared at Prahlad asking him whether his Lord Vishnu was present in the pillar behind him and with this question he stormed towards Prahlad with a sword to kill him. Lord Vishnu appeared in the form of ‘Narasimha’ – one of his avatars and killed Hiranyakashipu. Narsimha was half-lion and half-human. He rested the demon king on his lap, stood on his doorstep and tore him apart with his claws when it was dusk. This day is rejoiced even today as Holi.
The Legend of Radha and Krishna
Another legend that is remembered while celebrating Holi is about Radha and Krishna. It is said that Krishna was dark in complexion while Radha was fair. He always questioned is mother Yashoda to why he was dark. Tired of his questioning one day Yashoda told him that he could colour Radha’s face with any colour he liked. This lively coloring of Radha’s face is commemorated as Holi. People put ‘Gulal’ on each other’s face and play Holi.
The Legend of Shiva and Parwati
This legend is popular in Southern India. Lord Shiva is a Yogi and was in deep meditation. His wife Parwati wanted to bring him out of his meditation took the help of Kamadeva – the God of love. Knowing the rage of Shiva, Kamadeva risked his life and helped Parwati. He struck Shiva with his arrow of love but Shiva was enraged and opened his third eye – he burnt Kamadeva into ashes. Kamadeva’s wife Rati is angered on losing her husband and resorts to harsh meditation for forty days. Shiva then forgives Kamadeva and restores him back to life. The return of Kamadeva also reinstated love in the world, and this is celebrated as Holi.
Celebration of Holi, Rituals, and Names
Irrespective of the name that Holi is addressed by in different cities people play around with friends, family, and neighbors with dry colors known as Gulal. Children get more playful and spray each other with colored water. Every home is fragrant with appetizing food and varieties of sweets. While the spirit of Holi is same in all this colourful festival is celebrated under different names in different regions of India.
- People from Bihar call it Phaguwa. They burn Holika and the next day play with colors.
- Odisha calls it Dola and the people celebrate it by worshiping and taking Lord Jagannath around the cities in a procession throwing colors on each other.
- In Manipur, it is celebrated as Yaosang. The celebration lasts for a week. The Manipuri worship Lord Krishna, have a procession and play with gulal.
- The people from West Bengal celebrate it in the form of Dol Jatra and Basant Utsav. The color yellow is special, and women are seen wearing yellow sarees. They have processions, songs, traditional dance and all this is done while they smear each other with colors.
- Lathmar Holi is what people call it in Uttar Pradesh. The menfolk dress in shields while the women folk hit them with canes. This is done in good spirit, and while doing so, they play around with colors. They say when Lord Krishna went to Radha’s village to play Holi with her he was chased away by the women of her village with ‘lathis’ or sticks.
- The Goans call it Shigmo. The streets of Goa become lively during this festival and find people dressed in traditional costumes performing in the streets and playing with colors.
- Uttarakhand calls it Khadi Holi or Baithaki Holi. People go around playing with colors in groups they call ‘Tolis’ and enjoy their day eating sweets, singing songs.
- In Kerala, people call it Manjal Kuli or Ukuli. The Kudumbi and Konkani communities especially celebrate this with great pomp and show.
- The people of Maharashtra call it Rang Panchami or Shimoga. They also have the Holika Dahan and the next day they have a fun-filled day when they play around with colors.
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Every color smeared on you is the reflection of someone who loves you. Enjoy this beautiful festival and renew your relationships with those you haven’t been in terms with for some time.