Holi – A day to burn away our vices & bring back pure & divine qualities. Make “Holi” into a “Holy” day.

Dr Pundit Roshan Singh

 Holi- A world-famous festival. It is a traditional Hindu spring festival held in India. It is mainly held on the full moon day in March and celebrates the arrival of spring. Holi is also known as the “Festival of Colors” and is known around the world for its use of colourful powder and water. It is characterised by participants playing with colours known as “Gulal ” and splashing water on each other while saying “Happy Holi”. It is a very precious moment that transcends the differences of gender and caste status. It is believed that Holi was originally held to pray for agricultural success and a bountiful harvest. Later, it was combined with the exorcism rituals of Krishna’s legend and settled into its current form.

The festival of Holi is celebrated with great enthusiasm by everyone in India and now spread internationally. It is a day to burn away our vices & bring back pure & divine qualities into our lives. If this is not done then it is of no value at all. Either we be under the control of Hiranyakashyap or be blessed by the Lord. Make “Holi” a “Holy” day.

History of Holi

The history of Holi is deeply rooted in Hindu history and tradition, with various legends and stories. Among all, the most popular legends associated with Holi are the stories of Holika and Prahlad. The Holi bonfire or Holika Dahan is a celebration based on the story of Holika and Prahlad from Hindu scriptures. This festival started from Erich of Jhansi in Bundelkhand. This once used to be the capital of Hiranyakashyap.

As per this story, there was a demon king named Hiranyakashipu. The king of the Daityas earned a boon from Lord Brahma.  He says the boon of immortality is that he would neither die during the day nor at night, nor at the bottom or top. Neither man nor animal will be able to kill him. After receiving this boon, Hiranyakashyap became very arrogant and demanded everyone worship him as a god. But his son Prahlad was born in the house of this demon king. He was devoted to Lord Vinshu rather than his father. King Hiranyakashipu didn’t like his devotion to Lord Krishna. Hiranyakashyap made several attempts to get him killed. Still, Prahlad survived. Ultimately Hiranyakashyap threw Prahlad down from Dikoli mountain. Dikoli Mountain and the place where Prahlad fell still exist. It is mentioned in the 9th Canto of Shrimad Bhagvatam. According to history, to destroy his son, Hiranyakashipu asked his sister Holika, for help who was immune to fire. She has a chunari, which when worn by her she could not be burnt by fire. By wearing this covering fire will not have any effect upon her. Hiranyakashipu and Holika planned to burn Prahlad alive. Holika tricked Prahlad into sitting on fire with her. But through divine intervention, Prahald was saved by Lord Vishnu and Holika was burned in that fire. Holika sat in the fire with Prahlad covered in the same chunri in her lap, but the effect of God’s illusion was that the wind blew and the chunri  away and flew over Prahlad. In this way, Prahlad was again saved and Holika got burnt. Immediately after this, Lord Vishnu incarnated as Narasimha and killed Hiranyakashyap with his nails at the threshold of the temple situated at Dikauli on Gaudhuli Bela i.e. neither day nor night. He was place on the lap of Narasimha therefore he was not at the bottom nor on top.  The Lord took on the form of half lion and half deva. This whole story symbolises the victory of good over evil. This is the reason, a Holika Dahan is celebrated the day before Holi. People burn their negativity on the Holika Vahan. In celebrating Holi one should remember not only to enjoy the festival but most importantly to destroy the evil qualities that reside within us. Anger, lust, greed hatred and animosity should be burnt in this holy fire vowing to be a good human being to love, care and serve man and God alike.

Another popular story linked with the Holi is about Sri Krishna and Radharani. Holi is a playful love story about Krishna and Radha. According to ancient history, Lord Krishna who was well-known for his naughty nature, griped to his mother about his dark skin tone in contrast to Radha’s beautiful complexion. In response, his mother suggested that he colour Radha’s face to match his colour. This playful act of colouring Radha’s face with colour eventually became the tradition of playing with colour and water. People play Holi and apply colour to their loved ones which symbolises love, friendship and the arrival of spring.

Holi has roots in ancient Indian rituals and agricultural practices. It is also believed to celebrate the fertility festival, the arrival of spring and the blossoming of new life. On Holi, farmers devote their pray to god for a healthy harvest and perform rituals to ensure the fertility of their land. The celebration of Holi with colour and water also represents the colourful blooms of spring and the renewal of life in nature.

Over time, holidays became the universal celebration of joy, unity and togetherness. It is a world-famous festival now. It is celebrated with great enthusiasm in India as well as in many parts of the world. Holi festival is full

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