Indian history and culture is full of festivals, legends, mythological tales, god and goddess. The beauty of Indian heritage is the varied colors knitted in the ombre dyed Dupatta or Scarf Mother India wears. Starting from January till December we are blessed with the sweet sounds of celebration in the hood of festivals. Holi, the festival colors is yet another reason for family and friends to come together and rejoice in the shower of water and loose all apprehensions in the rich hues of red, yellow, pink and green. Holi and Diwali are two biggest festivals in the Hindu Culture but the warmth, fun & togetherness offered by these festivals make them transcend the boundaries of culture and religion. Hindu, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians, the veil of religion, faith, belief knows no existence atleast on these two days of our 365 day calendar.
Apart from offering yet another reason to be mischievous to its enthusiasts, Holi holds a deep spiritual and religious significance as well. And just like all the other festivals, fasts and rituals, Holi have many tales attached to itself, which involves many Gods and Goddess from the list. Let us learn about a few legends attached to this festival and then understand the Significance & Method to celebrate Holi:
Legends Attached to Holi
- Tale of Prahalada
The first and foremost legend that is attached to the festival of Holi is the tale of the young prince Bhakta Prahalada, his father Hiranyakashyapa and his aunt Holika. Hiranyakashyapa was a pompous king swollen by ego and pride. He demanded complete surrender from his people as well as his family as he considered himself as god. While everybody else followed suit, king’s son Prahalda did not give in, rather he started worshiping Lord Vishnu with all his heart. The king was not happy to see his own son rebel and with a view to set an example for the entire kingdom, he decided to kill his own son. He called his sister, Holika who was blessed to be unscathed by fire and asked her to sit on the pyre with Prahalda on her lap & kill the boy. When she performed what was asked of her, Lord Vishnu with his power saved the young boy, but Holika received paid with her life for her evil intentions. She was burnt even after the blessing and the boy was left unscathed.
- Tale of Lord Shiva and Kamadeva
Second another famous legend involves the almighty Shiva and Kamadeva. Kamadeva once disturbed Lord Shiva during his meditation by shooting an arrow on Lord Shiva with an intention to distract him because he wanted Lord Shiva to focus on Mata Parvati. Although this was done with a pure intention to save the world, Lord Shiva got furious with Kamadeva and burnt him with his third eye. Many people consider this as an end of distraction, negativity and ill intentions and therefore, celebrate holy as a symbol of destruction of evil. Also, eight days falling before Holi (till Holi) are considered as Holashtak and are inauspicious for performing anything positive or new.
- Tale of Lord Krishna
It is also believed that Lord Krishna was very notorious and loved playing with colors with Radha and other gopis. This prank of Krishna became a popular trend among Indians and became a festival in itself. Also, it stands for removing any difference and painting everyone in one color of love, togetherness and happiness. Yet another legend attached to this festival holds that it is considered as a celebration of death of Ogress Pootana who tried to kill Lord Krishna by poisoning him.
- A Generic Reason
It is also believed that Holi marks the beginning of spring season and winters officially come to an end. At many places it is seen as a time of the spring harvest. Farmers celebrate it as a time of bringing in positivity, abundance and happiness. This is why many call it Vasant Mahautsav as well.
Significance of Holi
While there many beliefs and faiths attached to the festival of Holi, the one that stands tall is, good and profundity will always overcome evil and in the end only true devotion to the higher self can help us sail through. The legend of Prahalda clearly points out to this fact and on the eve of Holi, a Holi pyre is created which is worshiped during the day and burnt at dawn. This Holi pyre is also referred to as Holi Dhahan where the worshippers and believers consider all the evil in their body as well as lives is leaving them to get assimilated in the fire and be returned back to the source. This act of burning one’s negativity and bringing in positivity works as a reminder, especially in the modern day society. With the stress and ill at its peak, these festivals work as a neon light to help us regain some perspective over our acts. A framework for our conduct and how to maintain right attitude are some of the other lessons.
Social as well as present day religious scenario are yet other reasons to celebrate this festival. It brings secular people of Indian subcontinent closer and once again asks them to rejoice in the banner of brotherhood and unity. Often people forgo their ego and make up with friends and family as togetherness, love and warmth are the prime motive of this festival.
Also, it is believed that by applying colors on our loved ones we are welcoming happiness, richness and positivity in their lives as well as our own lives. It is time to let go off the past hurts and misdeeds and start of with yet another year with a blank state.
We wish you a Happy Holi and our best wishes to you and your family on this festival of colors.