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Holi


Holi - the festival of colors - is the most fun-filled Hindu festival. It's an occasion that brings in joy and mirth, fun and play, music and dance, and, of course, lots of bright colors!

Every year it is celebrated on the day after the full moon in early March and glorifies good harvest and fertility of the land. It is also time for spring harvest and riotous fun. Holi is also celebrated as 'Vasant Mahotsava' and 'Kama Mahotsava'.

During Holi, squirting colored water on passers-by, dunking friends in mud pool amidst teasing and laughter, getting intoxicated on bhaang and reveling with companions is perfectly acceptable. In fact, on Holi, you can get away with almost anything by saying, "Don't mind, it's Holi!" (Hindi = Bura na mano, Holi hai.).

Draped in white, people throng the streets and smear each other with bright hued powders and squirt coloured water on one another through pichkaris (big syringe-like hand-pumps), irrespective of caste, color, race, sex, or social status. Whatever be the choice of colour, nobody remains in their original state at the end of the play. And everybody takes delight looking at the other. Really, the other name of the festival is FUN.

Days before Holi, the markets get flooded with the colours of every hues. This aptly sets the mood of the people till the actual day of Holi. It is such a colourful and joyous sight to watch huge piles of bright red, magenta, pink, green and blue everywhere on the streets. Buying those colours seems as you are bringing joys and color to your home and into your life.

And, it is not just children, but the young and the old alike who take delight in this joyous festival of colours. Seniors too, move in their groups. Their enthusiasm is at times greater than that of their children as they forget the bars of age and follow their hearts. To youth, Holi gives a chance to explore the heights of their enthusiasm as they climb the human pyramids to break the pot of buttermilk and to express their love to their beloved by applying colour.

For, Holi knows no bars, everybody feels it is their right to enjoy and enjoy they do. Songs, dance, drinks, food everything goes in excess when it is time for Holi. It can be said, "Life turns Colourful" when it is time for Holi.

 

Legends of Holi

The Legend of Holika and Prahlad


There was once a demon king by the name of Hiranyakashyap who won over the kingdom of earth. He was so egoistic that he commanded everybody in his kingdom to worship only him. But to his great disappointment, his son, Prahlad became an ardent devotee of Lord Naarayana and refused to worship his father.

Hiranyakashyap tried several ways to kill his son Prahlad but Lord Vishnu saved him every time. Finally, he asked his sister, Holika to enter a blazing fire with Prahlad in her lap. For, Hiranyakashyap knew that Holika had a boon, whereby, she could enter the fire unscathed.

Treacherously, Holika coaxed young Prahlad to sit in her lap and she herself took her seat in a blazing fire. The legend has it that Holika had to pay the price of her sinister desire by her life. Holika was not aware that the boon worked only when she entered the fire alone.
Prahlad, who kept chanting the name of Lord Naarayana all this while, came out unharmed, as the lord blessed him for his extreme devotion.
Thus, Holi derives its name from Holika. And, is celebrated as a festival of victory of good over evil.

Holi is also celebrated as the triumph of a devotee. As the legend depicts that anybody, howsoever strong, cannot harm a true devotee. And, those who dare torture a true devotee of god shall be reduced to ashes.

The Kamadeva Myth

It is often believed that it was on this day that Lord Shiva opened his third eye and incinerated Kamadeva, the god of love, to death.

In south people worship Kamadeva-the Love-god for his extreme sacrifice on the day of Holi.

Kamadeva is depicted with his bow of sugarcane having the string of a line of humming bees and his arrow-shafts are topped with passion that pierce the heart. The deity is offered mango blossoms that he loved and sandalwood paste to cool off the pain of his fatal burns. Songs are also song in which Rati's sorrow is depicted.

Radha-Krishna Legend

Holi is also celebrated in memory of the immortal love of Lord Krishna and Radha. The young Krishna would complain to his mother Yashoda about why Radha was so fair and he so dark. Yashoda advised him to apply colour on Radha's face and see how her complexion would change. In the legends of Krishna as a youth he is depicted playing all sorts of pranks with the gopis or cowgirls. One prank was to throw colored powder all over them. Holi is celebrated with eclat in the villages around Mathura, the birth-place of Krishna.

 

Some special recipes for Holi :