The name “HOLI” itself is the notion of purity. It brings in mind the lovely and vibrant colours. Listening the word Holi, the mouth starts watering thinking about the sweet ”gujhiya”; the famous sweet specially served during Holi. This festival does not only symbolise fun and frolic but it also has a major religious and mythological value.
Holi is one of the major festivals celebrated in India and it is the most vibrant of all the festivals. Holi is celebrated all across India and even in many parts of the world. Though the ways of celebrating this festival differs from region to region but the essence of Holi is same all across the globe. The festival is filled with smile and enthusiasm amongst the people. People forget the social distinctions completely and they leave behind all the cares and anxieties. They get drenched in the colours and enjoy together the sweetness of various “mithais”.
Holi is also called as Basant Utsav in many parts of India as it is celebrated on the first day of Hindi month Chaitra and typically falls in the month of march. The festival is celebrated for 2-3 days; its celebration begins on the last day of Phalgun. It makes the beginning of spring season. Gulal, abeer and pichkaris are treated as synonymous of this festival. Everybody play with colours; be it abeer or gulal and wants to be the first one to colour the other. In the lovely battle of colours, everyone is drowned not just in colours of gulal but also in love and joy. And a norm of the day is very famous as “Bura na mano holi hai”. People get intoxicated with “bhang”. Public celebrations and private gatherings are also organised to play with colours and enjoy bhang and gujhiyas. At many places, it is also played with flowers. Gujhiya and other sweets are offered to each other that come across to greet and colour. They gather to celebrate, sing, dance and play with colours. Some use dry powders, some mixes with water. Children use pichkaris; they also throw balloons with coloured water filled within. This festival is celebrated by all age groups.
There are many interesting stories associated with the origin of this festival. The most popular stories of Holi relates to ‘Holika Dahan’ and Legend of Radha-Krishna. Integrally intertwined with Holi, is the tradition of ‘Holika Dahan’.
In this the bonfires are lighted on the Holi eve and celebrated with playing drums. This ritual symbolises the victory of good over evil and has its root in the legend of demon king Hiranyakashyap. Hiranyakashyap had son, Prahlad. Prahlad was one of the greatest devotees of Lord Vishnu. Hiranyakashyap wanted to kill his son. So he called his sister, Holika. She had a magic robe which had the power to save the wearer from burning in fire. Hiranyakashyap ordered his sister to sit on burning fire along with Prahlad. He thought that his sister would not be harmed by fire because of the magic robe and Prahlad would be burnt to death. But the result was the opposite of what the evil demon king had planned. As it is believed, no one can harm the person whose saviour is God. Thus Prahlad came out of the burning fire safely and Holika was burnt to death. Since then the day is celebrated as victory of good over bad.
The legend of Radha and Krishna is linked with the tradition of colours on Holi. Lord Krishna, who had a dark complexion is said to be jealous of his beloved Radha’s extremely fair skin. In a mischievous mood, he applied colour on Radha’s face. Since then following this ancient legend, lovers till date long to colour their beloved as an expression of love and togetherness. And celebrating this tradition people started playing with different types of colours on the festival of Holi.
Holi has also got some evils. Many people get drunk beyond limit on this occasion and gets indulge in rowdy behaviour using fowl language. Some people apply colours of very bad quality which are dangerous for health.
It is advised to use natural and good quality colours. Also people should keep control on their behaviour and should keep in mind the decency. The festival should be celebrated with great harmony and togetherness.