Holi is the most vivid and celebrated festival of India. People from every part of this county celebrate Holi as the most ancient festival. Holi originated in India but now other regions of Asia and some parts of the western world celebrate this joyous festival.
Holi has some religious significance but mostly it is for fun. Holi remarks the victory of good over evil. It brings light and positivity to life.
What is the Holi Festival?
Holi is a Hindu festival celebrated mostly by the people of the Indian sub-continent. Holi is also the Festival of Spring, which refers to fertility and harvest. It welcomes spring after a long, dry winter. It is the symbol of fresh life and new energy.
The name of this festival differs from region to region. In some regions, people call it ‘Phagwa’ and in others, people know it as ‘Dol Jatra’. In West Bengal, people call it ‘Basanta Utsav’.
To celebrate Holi, many families have some religious ceremonies but most of the people celebrate Holi playing with colors.
Holi brings people from all aspects together. Even non-Hindus share the joy of Holi. Singing, dancing, throwing color to one another strengthen the emotional bonds between people. That is why it is also the Festival of Love.
Some Major Key Facts About Holi:
- People celebrate Holi on the day after a full moon which falls in February-March.
- Holi also celebrates Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna is the legend of Holika.
- Holi brings people close to their religion and mythology.
- Though Holi is connected with Hinduism, all the religious communities of India celebrate it.
- Holi breaks all the boundaries of caste, gender, class and age.
- People make Bonfires (Holika Dahan) before the night of Holi. They believe that the fire of bonfire would purify the air from all the evils.
- The next morning people go into the street and color their loved ones. Holi also features color battle, competition between men and women, singing, dancing and drinking Bhang.
- During Holi devotees decorate their temples beautifully. They place the Idol of Radha on a swing. It is a religious ritual to turn the swing singing some devotional songs.
The Festival of Holi- A Short Overview:
Holi is the most vibrant festival of all the major Indian festivals. Crossing the boundary, Holi has become the most joyful festival for the whole world. The color of Holi shows us the light of truth. People celebrate Holi with a hope of good harvest and land fertility.
What is the History of Holi?
The original name of Holi is ‘Holika’. Holika and Prahalad are the main legends of Holi. Holika was the sister of Hiranyakashyap. Hiranyakashyap was the king of demons and he wanted to be the ruler of the whole universe by defeating Lord Vishnu. But his son Prahalad was the true devotee of Vishnu. That made Hiranyakashyap angry and he wanted to kill his son with the help of Holika. Holika had a boon that made her immune to fire. She tricked Prahalad to sit on fire with her. But Vishnu saved Prahalad and the fire could not touch him, whereas Holika burned into ashes. After that Vishnu killed Hiranyakashyap.
The moral of the story is good always wins over evil and in the honor of this story the Hindu people celebrate Holi and burn large bonfires.
In some areas of India, Holi refers to ‘Dolyatra’. On this special day, Lord Krishna used to drench Radha and other girls with water and colors. Somehow, the other boys of the village started participating in this game and that has become a famous tradition to play with colors on the festival of Holi. This game signifies the love story of Radha-Krishna.
There are also some other legends about this festival. Some say this festival is connected with Shiva and Kaamadeva. And some legends tell us the story of Ogress Dhundhi and Pootana.
When is Holi Celebrated?
The festival takes place the day after the full moon in March, each year. The celebration of this festival starts on the night before Holi with ‘Holika Dahan’. But the people of Odisha and West Bengal, celebrate it a day earlier. They celebrate Holi as Dol Jatra or Dol Purnima on the same day, they celebrate Holika Dahan.
What are the Best Places to Celebrate Holi?
- Mathura: As Mathura is the birthplace of Lord Krishna, people here grandly celebrate Holi. Dwarkadheesh Temple is very famous for celebrating this festival. People there start their celebration by praying in this temple.
- Shantiniketan: Shantiniketan, West Bengal celebrates this festival as ‘Basanta Utsav’. There you can see people dressed up in yellow. They celebrate this day with various kinds of cultural programs.
- Barsana: In Barsana, Uttar Pradesh women beat up their men with sticks. The name if this tradition is ‘Lathmar Holi’.
- Goa: The festival of Holi, locally known as ‘Shigmostav’ lasts for five days in Goa. On this day, people arrange special dance and parades.
- Jaipur & Udaipur: The first day of Holi is celebrated in the City Palace of Udaipur. Amer Fort and City Palace of Jaipur are the best places to observe this celebration. In Jaipur, the Holi festival lasts for five days.
- Anandpur Sahib: Sikhs of Panjab have their style of Holi celebrations. The call this festival ‘Hola Mahalla’. This 3-days festival takes place one day after the Hindu Holi Festival.
- Mumbai: In Mumbai, they hang a pot full of buttermilk and they try to reach the pot by clambering on top of one another. The man who succeeds gets the title of ‘Holi King of the Year’.
Essential Tips to Help You Enjoy the Festival of Holi:
- You cannot mind getting wet and dirty if you want to enjoy this festival. You have to be carefree.
- Sometimes the colors do not wash out easily. So, always wear the old and the worst clothes or clothes you don’t mind having stained.
- Always carry coconut oil whenever you are attending a Holi program. Coconut oil helps to remove stain from hair and skin.
- Make sure you are not allergic to the colors,
- Home-made natural colors are best for skin and hair. If you cannot get any natural color, make sure that your colors are from good brands.
- While traveling keep the car windows shut down.
- Carry handy painkillers, anti-oxidants, anti-allergic tablets.
- Always try to keep your eyes close when someone attacks your face to color you.
- If you don’t want to stain your teeth, carry dental caps.
- Cover your hair with hats or caps to protect them from hard-to-wash dyes.
Safety Concerns During the Holi Festival:
- Sometimes, young women get molested by the people in the messy environment of Holi Festival. Women should not go out alone during Holi.
- If you are traveling with your kids, keep a close watch on them. They can get lost in the crowd.
- Always try to stay with your group avoid the pick hours of celebration. People who consume too much alcohol can cause various kinds of problems for the traveler.
- Try to avoid bringing valuable things with you as they could be taken.
- If someone treats you inappropriately, try to gather people by making a scene so that other can help you.
Holi is the greatest festival in India. But nowadays it has gained popularity all over the world. Everyone observes this festival with great enthusiasm. Besides having religious significant Holi also features some cultural, social and biological importance. With the onset of spring, Holi fills people’s lives with new joy and energy.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Festival of Holi:
1. Does the color come out from clothes?
Answer: The colors that people use during Holi is Washable. You can easily remove them with some detergent. But there is no guaranty that you can remove all the colors. Some light stain can still appear on some clothes specially on white.
2. What should I wear in Holi celebration?
Answer: Try to wear something that will protect you from sunburn. Try to avoid expensive and new clothes because you will stain them no matter what.
3. What is the difference between Dol Jatra and Holi?
Answer: Dol Jatra differs from Holi that it is the last festival of Bengali year. Dol Jatra and Holi have also the different legends. But both of them occurs on the same day.
4. How many days Holi is celebrated?
Answer: People celebrate Holi for five days. ‘Rang Panchami’ is the 5th and the closing day.
5. What happens during Holi Festival?
Answer: People observe this day by throwing powder colors to each other, singing folk songs and dancing under the water sprinklers.