Each year when holi is celebrated you know that spring has emerged and it is time to break free from your winter cocoons and bask in the sunny weather. The atmosphere is ecstatic with people spreading there infectious good cheer to others and the ambiance seeming to have an effect on the greenery with bountiful, colorful blooms seen all around. It is a commonly established fact that there is no other Hindu festival that is as fun-filled, lively and energetic as Holi. With an overdose of music, dance, games, mirth, and lots of color to indulge in, Holi is definitely one of the most awaited festivals of the year. Speaking of Holi one cannot forget to mention the 'pichkaris' and the pool of colored water to splash into, definitely a fun way to cool off the heat wave. The festival has something for everyone. Also, Holi give a perfect opportunity to treat the taste buds with the delectable 'Gujhias' and 'Papris' and of course who can forget to mention 'bhang' a milky drink that could give a high.
Like many Hindu festivals Holi also has a tale of its past that reflect the culture and heritage. According to the scriptures King Hiranyakashipu a demon, had been granted a boon by Lord "Brahma after many years of penance". The boon released the demon king from the cycle of life and death, thus making him immortal. According to the conditions laid down by the king he could not die during day, nightfall, at the hands of a women, man or animal, on earth, sky, inside the house or outside and not by any weapon. He soon became supercilious and started to attack innocent people in heaven and earth. His boon gave him the belief that he was superior to the gods and forced people to start worshipping him. However, his own son Prahlada, an ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu, refused to worship him as God almighty. This, in turn, angered king Hiranyakashipu so much so that he decided that Prahlad should be executed. Despite many attempts Prahlada managed to survive every time due to Vishnu's mystical powers. Finally, Hiranyakashipu orders his son to be seated on the lap of his sister Holika under a burning fire, knowing well in hand that she could not die because of the special boon that prevented from being harmed by fire. But once the fire was lit, miraculously Prahlada survived, while his demon sister Holika died. Since then, the festival of Holi came to be celebrated in the country. According to many spiritual leaders there are other versions on how the celebrations took place, a few of them believe that it was Lord Krishna who actually popularized this festival.
Celebrations and Rituals
The main reason for Holi to be called as the festival of color is because of the different colors that are smeared on people. Also, since it is often referred to as the festival of spring, it is believed that people celebrate the arrival of spring with color and good cheer. Apart from the color, the festival of Holi has certain rituals for which people begin to prepare much in advance. It starts with the formation of Holika Dahan where several huge wooden logs are combined together where friends and relatives stop by pouring oil around the wooden logs. In the evening the logs are lit and burnt down. The act signifies the destruction of evil over good and also symbolizes the power of true devotion. On the next day celebration is first started with customary prayer to the gods before people are seen outdoors playing with colors. In Mathura, the 'matka cermony' takes place. In this, a huge earthen pot filled with milk is tied to unreachable heights. A group of young men form a human pyramid to reach the pot and break it. Large amounts of colored water are thrown to deter them from being successful. This is a fun and cheerful event that is commonly seen in this part of the country.
Holi is a popular festival and is celebrated each year with great pomp and gaiety around different parts of the country. It is usually falls on the full moon day on the month of "Phalgum" which is in the month of March. Holi dates change each year according to the Indian Hindu calendar which is also known as (Panchang). Although Holi is celebrated throughout the country, it is very popular in the northern parts of the country compared to southern India. Barsana, Mathura, Vrindavan and Gorakpur are some of the place to sink deep to the experience the spirit of Holi.
Holi celebration in India is associated with both the harvest season and Hindu mythology.
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