India is a country where people celebrate different types of festivals. Every festival has some reason or significance behind its celebration and on this basis; they are termed as religious seasonal or national festivals. The rich culture and tradition of India are depicted well in our festivals. Holi is a chrome full festivity and is celebrated by people all over India in different patterns.
The festival Holi is popularly known as the festival of colors. People play with colors and throw colored waters over each other. It marks the beginning of the spring season and the end of the winter season. It is celebrated in the month of Phalguna i.e. March. This festival has originated in India but it is also celebrated in other parts of the world. This festival is celebrated in different ways in different states of India. It is a three days festival and the festivity is initiated from the day of Holika Dahan.
People celebrate the festival of Holi with great zeal and enthusiasm. The wood pieces, non-usable items are collected to make arrangements for the bonfire. A day before the festival Holika is burnt and is termed as Holika Dahan. It is considered that all the evil is burnt in the fire and thus it is an end to the negativity and ready for fresh start-up. The next day that is the day of the festival; people collect in the open spaces outside the house and play with colors. The different colored gulal is splashed in the air.
People wear white dresses on this day. Men can be seen in white kurta and women in white salwar suit or sari. Popular Holi songs are played. People dance in groups and throw colors on each other. The white dresses are converted into colorful dresses. On this day people enjoy Thandhai and snacks. The small children throw color filled balloons on each other.
After playing with colors in the afternoon everybody takes bath and wear new clothes in the evening. People go to meet with their friends and relatives and close ones and greet them with the warm wishes of the festival. ‘Gujiya’ is the sweet delicacy prepared on this day. Several other dishes and snacks are also prepared and served.
Holi is an important festival celebrated by the people of India and it is celebrated to welcome the spring season of harvest. There is also a story behind celebrating this festival. There was a Demon king named Hiranyakashipu. He was granted special powers and blessings to remain immortal. He made the people of his kingdom worship himself as he considered himself as God. He had a son named Prahlada, who was a great devotee of Lord Vishnu. Prahlada was not ready to agree with his father's order and worshipped Lord Vishnu.
Hiranyakashipu was filled with anger at his son’s deed. He used to give severe punishments but none of them affected Prahlada as he was showered with the blessings of God. Holika was the sister of Hiranyakashipu and she was granted with a cloak which would not burn in the fire. He asked her to take Prahlada in her lap and wear the cloak and sit in fire. She did the same but the cloak flew away and was wrapped around Prahlada’s body. Holika died in the fire. Lord Vishnu incarnated in form of Narshima and killed the Demon King Hiranyakashipu. This signified the victory of good over evil. There are many other stories but all have the same morals.
Holi is played by using different colors but at many places people use mud, flowers, dust, water, etc are used to enjoy the festivity. The Holi of Mathura and Vrindavan is quite popular. It marks the significance of the love of Radha and Krishna. The festival is celebrated there for more than a week. A special ritual is observed that can be termed as Lath-Mar Holi. As Lord Krishna chased Radha and her friends when he went to meet his love Radha on Holi and applied color on their faces. Radha and other gopis took revenge from Krishna by beating him with bamboo sticks. In the same way, the men carry shields and women have sticks in their hands and they beat on the shields and men protect them from being hurt along with enjoying the game.
Holi is celebrated by different names in different states of India. People in other states celebrate the festivity according to their rituals and beliefs. The people in Northeastern region celebrate by burning Holika and spraying colors over each other.
Is Holi a Harvest or Religious Festival?
The festivals celebrated in India have been originated somewhat in past and are carried on from generations. The provision of celebrating harvest festivals was prevalent in our nation as India is an agricultural country. People celebrate the joy of the good harvest of crops and pray to give thanks to nature.
The celebration of the festival Holi traces its roots too to religious significance as there are many mythological reasons behind its celebration. Even after having the religious significance, it is the festival celebrated to welcome spring and end all the negativity along with embracing a new start.
Earlier due to religious significance, it was celebrated by Hindus in India but now it is celebrated as the festival of happiness and love among all the religions and people in other parts of the world. Therefore it will be more convenient to state Holi as a harvest festival instead of a religious festival that is celebrated by people in different patterns.
Holi is the festival that is played by using colors. The colors are a sign of happiness and hope. The festival must be played by using natural or organic colors as the chemical colors are not safe.
They can cause several allergic reactions, itching, and irritation in the eyes. People celebrate this festival together by putting an end to all the conflicts. It teaches us to remain in harmony and love each other.