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
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
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
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
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
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.
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 :