Holi, the festival of colors, is just round the corner and its essence already marks the aura of Indian cities. Roadside vendors selling pichkaris and colors, chips and snacks of all shapes and sizes, the smell of Gujiya emanating from the sweet shops and the children’s ultimate shopping spree- all point towards the celebration of this amazing fun-filled festival. As vibrant the color of Holi are, so is the Indian culture. And Holi, in its true essence, celebrates the diversity of India. There are a number of reasons to celebrate Holi in India and its significance differs from mythological to biological.
Let us take a closer look:
You must have heard the legend of Prahlad and Hiranyakashyap. The latter believed that he was God and wanted everyone to worship him. However, Prahlad started worshiping Vishnu. This agitated him and he asked his sister Holika (who could never be burnt) to sit in the fire with Prahlad in her lap. But Prahlad was saved due to his true devotion and Holika died. This gave rise to ‘Holika Dahan’ ritual.
Sri Krishna and Radha’s romantic relationship is also cited as the soul of Holi. Sri Krishna’s beloved Radha lived in village Barsana and while he was going to meet her, he was teasing her and her friends. They all found it offensive and chased him away. Ever since, Barsana has kept the tradition alive. Women chase away men with Lathis and then the celebration with colors starts.
The core idea behind Holi celebration is the victory of good over evil. It encourages people to follow a good conduct in life and keep away from evil practices. Being truthful and honest saved Prahlad and we should adopt the same honesty into our lives. In some areas, Holi is also seen as a welcome to the harvest season.
Holi celebration brings people together by making them forget bitter relationships and have a fresh start. Though it is a Hindu Festival, its vibrancy and joy attracts non-Hindus as well. In societies everyone, regardless of his religion, participates in the joy of Holi. The mornings are spent playing with colors and the evenings consist of meeting, greeting and exchanging gifts. It is all about revitalizing relationships with your loved ones.
Holi falls at a time when the weather is sleepy and lazy as the season changes and becomes warmer. So the joyous celebrations and music all happen to rejuvenate our mind and body. Scientists also believe that Abeer used as a coloring component is also healthy for the skin.
So many reasons to celebrate!