One of India’s largest and most vibrant festivals is Holi. Many religious communities now take part in the celebrations with equal fervour, despite the fact that it has its roots in Hindu religious practices.
Holi is a religious holiday that is primarily observed in India. However, there are also some other nations with sizable Hindu populations, such as Nepal, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, South Africa, or the United Kingdom. As it occurs on the final full moon of the month, the celebration—also known as the Spring Festival—celebrates the end of the winter season. Typically, this occurs at the end of February or the start of March.
Numerous Hindu legends are the inspiration for the various Holi festivities that are held throughout India. However, there are two that are naturally well-known in India and throughout the rest of the world.
The aunt of Prince Prahlada and the wicked sister of King Hiranyakashipu is Holika. Hiranyakashipu’s extraordinary powers, which caused him to think he was a god, were the beginning of everything. The sole deity that people ought to worship.
Due to tradition, Prince Prahlada chose to keep worshipping Vishnu. His father was so enraged by this that the king decided to punish him.
Holika planned to ask her nephew to sit next to her in the middle of a bonfire. It was a death trap, of course. She would be shielded from the flames by a magic cloak, but her nephew would perish. Fortunately for the evil Holika, the entire scheme backfired.
Like the majority of Hindu holidays, Holi does not have a set date on the calendar. Holi falls on the day of the full moon during the Hindu calendar month of Phagun, which is why the dates of celebrations are set by the Lunar Calendar (sometime in March).
Holi signifies the end of winter and the start of summer. Mother Nature unleashes a riot of colour in a wide array of flowers in Northern India during this time, so it should come as no surprise that the Festival of Colors is observed there.
Krishna, who engaged in colour-related play with his friends, is the principal deity connected to the festival’s playful nature. It represents the bonds of love that bind the Divine and the world of humans. That God is an active participant in their creation, not some remote presence.
Other customs relate Holi to the triumph of good over evil (Holika Dahan). There are numerous other regional customs in India that relate various tales to the festival.
Despite having its roots in ancient India, the festival of Holi has gained popularity throughout the world. Guyana, Jamaica, Surinam, Trinidad and Tobago, South Africa, Mauritius, etc. There are a lot of immigrants from India, which is a common factor.
Holi is celebrated with extreme hedonism, with people dousing one another in both wet and dry paint. People are doused with water using water balloons and water guns in good fun. Socioeconomic differences are frequently overlooked because everyone is fair game, whether they are friends, strangers, wealthy, young, or old. People gather in parks and other public areas for this neighborhood celebration to take part in the fun! In India, music plays a significant role in every festival, and Holi is no exception.
Holi-themed music spans a variety of genres, from traditional songs to more modern tunes. On this day, folk and classical dances are also performed.
Colors of Holi
Holi can be celebrated with natural colors or with synthetic, mass-produced colors. Reds, yellows, greens, and pinks are common color choices. When it comes to natural colors, in the past, fresh flower petals and sandalwood paste were both applied. Flower petals can now be crushed and dried for use. Turmeric gives off a dry yellow color; mixing it with water to make a paste can prolong the duration of the color stain on the skin for a few days. Henna paste can be used to create similar, more durable hues, and the dry powder can be used to create a dry green color.
People in the Braj area of Uttar Pradesh, India, celebrate Lathmaar Holi (Holi of Sticks). The women in this place chase the men away by beating them with long sticks after the men sing provocative songs to catch their attention.
Earthen curd and butter pots—Lord Krishna’s favorite foods—are hung from great heights in Gujarat and Maharashtra. In an effort to reach the pots and their contents, boys and men form pyramids by standing on each other’s shoulders. In the meantime, women sing traditional songs and pelt the men with water in an effort to divert their attention and hinder their ability to finish the task.
An Indian festival called Holi, also known as Rangwali Holi, Dhuleti, Dhulandi, or Phagwa, is observed not only in India but also by the Indian diaspora around the world. Holi has historically been a Hindu festival, but it is now celebrated by people of all faiths. International Holi has even transcended cultural barriers, with many foreigners being invited to join the celebrations by the local Indian community.