Get ready to witness the beauty of the sky, jam-packed with vivid tints on the most adorned festival of Hindus .i.e. Holi. The festival of colors, Holi, is celebrated with full enthusiasm in different regions of India. It is one of the most popular festivals of India that is held in the month of March and this year it is going to be celebrated on 13th of March 2017. The commencement of this fest signifies the beginning of spring season with immense joy and happiness. Being prevalent by the variety of names, it is a perfect day to meet your loved ones and even resolve bitter relationships as the festival symbolizes forgiveness and the conquest of good over evil.
Story Behind the Festival
Holi is the oldest Hindu festival as it is associated with the legendary and fearless King Hirnayakashipu. In ancient mythology, Hirnayakashipu was a demon who wants payback for the death of his younger brother, killed by Lord Vishnu. To gain eternal power, the demon prayed for the years. After getting the supremacy, he started considering himself as the God and asked people to worship him.
The cruel king had a son named Prahalad, who was a great admirer of Lord Vishnu. But, the harsh ruler didn’t like it and decided to slay his own son. He asked his sister ‘Holika’ to sit on a pyre of fire with Prahalad in her lap. The cruel king wanted to burn Prahalad brutally. But the strategy didn’t work as Prahalad who was declaiming the name of Lord Vishnu got safe, but Holika burnt down to ashes. This downfall of Holika indicates the victory of good over evil. Later on, Lord Vishnu killed the cruel but in fact the death of Holika is linked with Holi. In some parts of India, a bonfire is ignited before the Holi to recall the death of the evil.
But, now the question arises how colors become a part of Holi? Well, the answer of this query has its answers way back in the era of Lord Krishna. It is even believed that Lord Krishna used to celebrate Holi with colors accompanied with his friends at Vrindavan and Gokul. Moreover, they used to do monkey shines all over the village that made it a communal event.
Types of Holi in Different Regions of India
Holi is an enjoyable festival where people in India enjoy it in different traditional and unique ways. Every region in India has different ideologies of the festival which are very interesting to know.
- Mathura: Holi or Lath Mar Holi is mostly famous in the Braj area of Uttar Pradesh, where the people enjoy this festival in a unique manner and the native women chase away men with lathis (sticks) and beat them, just for enjoyment.
- Maharashtra: Holi, popularly known as Ranga Panchami in Maharashtra is celebrated for five days and is celebrated with Gulal (dry color) and by throwing water at each other. The act of playing with colors signifies the partial worship of the god.
- Haryana: One of the most popular celebrations of Holi, the Dhulandi is held in Haryana with immense joy. It is well known as Bhabhi-Devar Holi as on this day, the bhabhi (sister-in-law) beats their devars (brother-in-law) with sticks on their heads celebrating the sweet relationship between the two.
- Bihar: In Bihar, Holi or Phagwa is celebrated using mud, water and abeer (color), the people also dance on the beats of dholak summing it up with relishing some delicacies like spiced milk, pakoras, and bhang or thandai to their enjoyment.
- West Bengal: Holi in West Bengal is generally known as the Dol Purnima where people worship Lord Krishna and celebrate this festival by using refined dry colors. People enjoy singing devotional songs and having traditional delicacies like malpua, sandesh, payash etc.
- Manipur: Holi in this region is celebrated for six days and the main attraction is the Manipuri folk dance called Thabal Chongba with several other cultural activities.
Some Useful Tips to Play Safe Holi
Holi is a great festival of bliss and delight, but sometimes mishaps happen without any invitation. To enjoy a prosperous Holi, there are several precautions that must be considered:
- Before getting started, apply good amount of coconut oil on your hair and body as it works wonders in removing the colors easily without any hassles.
- Use natural and herbal colors made from turmeric powder, flowers, and tea leaves etc. as these colors are harmless to the skin like other chemical colors.
- Drink loads of water to replenish yourself, as the use of chemical colors dehydrates the skin too much.
- Use facial cleansers instead of soap to remove colors from your skin after playing Holi.
The festival of colors should be celebrated in a decent way as it is a festival to celebrate happiness and we must maintain the real spirit of this festival by playing safe and healthy. AMICI wishes everyone a safe and happy Holi. Go ahead and enjoy the festival with all your loved ones and relish all your favorite sweets and food!