Holi the festival of colors is enjoyed and celebrated throughout Indian and has even spread out to the far west. The lively exchange of Abeer, the bhang pellets dissolved in the lassi, the revelry in the air is what Holi means to every Indian. However, it is not just limited to colors.
Here are some interesting facts about Holi.
- 10. About Holi
- 9. The story of Prahlad and Holika
- 8. The seasonal transition and the wheat harvest
- 7. The many names of the festival
- 6. The other story of Krishna
- 5. The environmental concerns
- 4. The traditions and the food
- 3. Celebrated nationwide despite being a North Indian festival
- 2. License to get dirty
- 1. Untouchability abolished- No caste, creed, or religion- Celebrate youth
10. About Holi
The festival of Holi is celebrated on the full-moon day of Phalguna (February–March). The festival is celebrated by throwing Abeer or colored powders and water upon each other irrespective of caste, gender, status, and age. After few hours of rambunctious celebrations with colors, people get home, shower off the colors, wearing clean clothes, and thereafter visit friends and relatives.
9. The story of Prahlad and Holika
This beautiful festival of hues and good vibes has a story behind it. As Hindu mythology goes, Lord Vishnu had a devotee called Prahlad, who was the son of King Hriranyakashyap. The king did not approve of Prahlad’s devotion to Vishnu, before that to his own father. Hence, he tried several times to kill Prahlad, but the Lord miraculously saved him each time. Hence, the king’s sister tried tricking Prahlad into walking into a fire while she clad in an invisible cloak to ward off the fire. However, Lord Vishnu saved his devotee, and Holikawas burnt in the fire. The legend is the reason for the Holika Dahan, or burning an idol of Holika in a grand fire made by people on Holi, till date.
8. The seasonal transition and the wheat harvest
The beautiful festival brings with itself the lovely spring season. This time marks the passing by of winter and the beginning of spring. While colors are in the air, Mother Nature also ensures the world is ready for the vibrance of Holi. This festival also marks the harvesting of the wheat crop and hence is very special for all farmers who grow produce on their lands.
7. The many names of the festival
Holi is known by a variety of names. This varies and depends from state to state within the borders of the country. In Maharashtra, it is called as Rang-Panchami, in Mathura, UP: Lathi-maar Holi, in Haryana: Dulandi Holi, in Punjab: Hola Mohalla in Bihar: Phagawn, in Goa: Shingo, in Tamil Nadu: Kaman Pandigai, in West Bengal: Basant Utsav/ Dol Purnima.
6. The other story of Krishna
Stories associated with Holi are varied. One such mythological tale goes thus that Lord Krishna was skeptical about the pretty Radha and her gopikas finding him attractive. Tired of his incessant worries, Krishna’s mother, Rukmini, convinces him to approach her and color her in a color of his choice. Convinced by his mother, Lord Krishna colors Radha and till date, Holi is commemorated and celebrated as a festival of love.
5. The environmental concerns
Not all colors used and sold at shops during Holi are good and some can cause serious skin reactions. Also, the powder harms the environment and the people. Hence, parents and grown-ups must ensure that children and all those around, play with colors that are natural and organic. Many also believe is utilizing colors prepared from natural substances like beet-root, etc., not only are these safe but also are easy to prepare at home.
4. The traditions and the food
Traditionally on Holi, mothers would stitch new clothes for their married daughters. The son-in-lawswere invited for a sumptuous meal to the bride’s family house – along with handing over different kinds of Holi gifts. The usual food items made during Holi are Gujjia, papri and kanji vade. Are these snacks and foods known to be prepared at other times of the year?
3. Celebrated nationwide despite being a North Indian festival
It is a national festival that is celebrated across all the 28 states of India! This is something to be proud of for every Indian, as even the states of the Deccan do not fail to observe this festival. However, the pomp and wild color assault are not seen in the southern part of India. Usually, rituals in temples are carried out. A typical exception to this is the small town of Hampi in Karnataka, where the color riot is as vibrant and lively as that in Northern India.
2. License to get dirty
Of course, you cannot play with colors without getting dirty. Indians are generally finicky about cleanliness and hygiene, but no one cares when the water balloons burst on Holi.It is one day in the year that parents do not mind not being able to recognize their children, drenched in colors. It is the license for children to play their hearts out and parents encourage the filth on this day allowing them to get dirty.
1. Untouchability abolished- No caste, creed, or religion- Celebrate youth
Holi is a time for celebration with unity. With untouchability so prevalent in the former times, the festival brought within everyone a sense of unity and brotherhood. The divided India that we know of, somehow fails to remember the religious or caste differentiation during this time, with everyone frolicking in the revelry.Youth is celebrated much during this time. With young fellows, carrying water balloons as whizz by on their bikes, aiming and bursting balloons on their way at the poor souls caught unalarmed. This is fun, but also, should be curbed to some extent, as some just get intoxicated and grow up to some mischief. Like Ayurveda, this festival too is widely popularized in the west and is known to be celebrated with fun and vigor.