Holi Festival – Legend, History, Significance
Holi – Festival of colors
Holi is one of the major and colorful festival of India. The festival falls in the month of Phalgun on the full moon day according to Hindu Calendar. It is observed for two day.
Rituals on Holi
Holi celebrations starts on previous night of the full moon day with Holika Dahan, it is also called as Kama Dahana. On Holi day Hindu people celebrates by playing with colors, smearing the colored powder or throwing colored water on each other.
Legend of Holi Festival
Wide range of legendary stories and myths are associated with Holi Festival. The most popular one is.
Once lived a demon king Hiranyakashapa. For his prayers, he was granted a boon by Lord Brahma, that death do not come either by man or beast, nor devil, nor god shall cause death by day or by night with steel or stone or wood, indoors or outdoors, or earth or in sky. With this boon he became very egoistic and started dominating people, gods.
Hiranyakashapa’s son Prahallada was a devotee of Lord Vishnu. Hiranyakashapa forced Prahllada to worship him and not to pray to Lord Vishnu. But Prahallada continued to pray Lord.
Hiranyakashipa’s evil sister Holika has a distinctive cloak that when worn prevented her from being harmed by fire. She then deceived Prahlada and made him sit on her lap while she sat on a pyre covering herself with a cloak to remain protected. Prahalada started chanting the Lord Vishnu mantras to save him. However as the pyre was put on fire her cloak flew from her body and covered the little boy. Soon Holika burned to ashes while Prahlada remained unharmed.
This angered Hiranyakashipu even more who smashed a pillar from which Lord Vishnu appeared in the avatar of Lord Narasimha and tore the demon King’s belly with his sharp fingernails by put on thighs and killed him.
Thus Holika Dahan observed on the first day and Holi celebrated with colors on second day in the sense of victory of good over evil.