Holi – Festival of colors
Those who are accustomed to this ceremony are aware that Holi is one of the major and colorful festivals of India, which also resembles happiness.
But not a lot of us are aware of the reason behind this extravagant ceremony of joy. In general terms, Holi is the symbol of good’s victory over evil forces. Besides, it also resembles the start of a new season as joyful spring arrives after cold winter. History has been a witness to the fact that Holi acts as the grand ceremony for fixing broken relationships.
The festival falls in the month of Phalgun on the full moon day according to Hindu Calendar.
It is observed for two days. The first day of Holi is Chhoti Holi or Holika Dahan is celebrated by lighting bonfire that signifies the symbol of the victory over evil.
Holi 2019 Dates
- Holika Dahan – Wednesday, March 20
- Holi – Thursday, March 21
Holi 2020 Dates
- Holika Dahan – Monday, March 9
- Holi – Tuesday, March 10
Holi 2021 Date
- Holika Dahan – Sunday, March 28
- Holi – Monday, March 29
Holi 2022 Date
- Holika Dahan – Monday, March 7
- Holi – Tuesday, March 8
Rituals on Holi
Holi celebrations start on the previous night of the full moon day with Holika Dahan, it is also called as Kama Dahana. On the day of Holi, Hindu people celebrate by playing with colors, smearing the colored powder or throwing colored water on each other.
The Legend of Hiranyakashyap
When you’re curious about Indian customs, it’s highly probable that you’ll come across numerous legends and multiple philosophies behind the occurrence of any particular ceremony. While it is impossible to decide the actual reason behind the celebration of Holi, we can certainly take into account the multiple theories behind the scene.
And in this process, we have only taken into consideration the various Holi scripts collected over the years. One such logic behind Holi is associated with the demon king, Hiranyakashyap. His treacherous mentality and unforgiving power helped him to win over all the kingdoms of the Earth. In his quest of becoming a legend, Hiranyakashyap developed a fair sense of ego, which sometimes exceeded his reasoning for morality.
He was proud of his powers and there’s no doubt that he wanted command over the citizens of the heaven and earth. He wanted everyone to worship him and imagined himself to be a god when he wasn’t at all. The whole world feared Hiranyakashyap’s deadly force and could not ignore worshipping him. But all of a sudden, something occurred that made Hiranyakashyap upset.
Prahlad and the failed blessing of Holika
Hiranyakashyap’s son, Prahlad was not happy with his father’s treacherous behavior. While the entire world wanted to make him happy and indulged in worshipping the demonic icon, Prahlad had different plans.
He was devoted to Lord Narayana and admired all the good deeds of his lord. In the process, Hiranyakashyap was often exposed to a sense of vulnerability.
He was aware of the fact that if his son doesn’t worship him, the entire world wouldn’t take much time to ignore the powers of the demon lord. So, to restore fear into the hearts of humans Hiranyakashyap made multiple attempts to kill Prahlad, failing to do so, courtesy to the intervention of Lord Vishnu.
Hiranyakashyap had a sister, ‘Holika’ who was blessed with eternal power. Hiranyakashyap came up with a plan that if she enters a dazzling fire with Prahlad in her lap, she would come back unharmed; killing Prahlad in the process. So, Holika respected her father’s instructions and entered the fire with Prahlad in her arms.
Now there are certain things to be remembered. Holika was gifted with blessings only under the condition that she enters fire all alone. Since she took another person with her, her blessings didn’t work.
As a result, Prahlad; who kept chanting Vishnu’s name, emerged unharmed and Holika never came back from the pyre. Later, Lord Vishnu’s avatar ‘Parshurama’ killed Hiranyakashyap to restore order. It’s the event of Holika burning into ashes that are celebrated across the nation and the name of the festival; Holi is derived from her name.
Chronicles of Radha-Krishna
Radha and Krishna’s love story is an integral part of Indian mythology. Their relationship resembles unconditional love and eternal bonding. It is also said that Krishna, who was dark in complexion, was jealous of Radha’s bright skin tone. He could never understand why this had been the case. So, one day on his mother Yashoda’s advice, Lord Krishna smeared some color on Radha’s face. According to some Puranas, that was how Holi started.