Also referred to as the festival of colors, Holi in India is celebrated towards the end of February or in the beginning of March. It is this day when people forget about their cultural and social differences and meet everyone with open heart and show their regard for them with smearing colors on each other. People of same age group embrace each other reflecting a feeling of joy and happiness and those who are younger in the family they touch the feet of their elders to get their blessings.
There are two days basically dedicated to the celebrations of Holi. The festive spirit catches up with the people with the enkindling of bonfire in the evening. The next day in the morning people gather at a place with their family members and friends to rub colors on each other.
Like other festivals in India, Holi also has great cultural and mythological significance. According to a popular Indian folklore, there was a king called Hiranyakashyap in ancient times, who ordered his subjects to worship him only. But, his son Prahlad, who was apparently dedicated to Lord Naarayana, refused to abide by his commands. Furious at him, he asked his sister Holika to sit on a flaming fire with Prahlad in her lap. Unafraid Holika, who was guarded against the blazing fire by blessings of the god, when entered the fire with the little boy, got burnt. Prahlad, on the contrary, came out safe because of his devotion in god. From that time onwards, people started celebrating this occasion as a mark of triumph over evil.
The other legends suggest a connection of this festival with Lord Krishna, who used to play with colors with her ladylove Radha and other cow-herd girls.
Observed on the day of Phalgun Purnima, the preparation for Holi celebrations starts with collecting wood to build bonfire at the crossway of the city. The bonfire is lit in the evening. After this, people return home taking few embers from the fire. They enjoy a sumptuous spread at home comprising mainly the traditional items like mathri, gujiya, malpuas etc. among others.
However, one gets to witness the real spirit of the festival of Holi the next day when people gather at one place to rub colors, which are called ‘abeer’ and ‘gulal’ in Hindi, on each other. Some even like to take traditional Indian drink ‘bhang’ for fun, as it has an intoxicating effect.
Last Updated On: 2011/07/04