What Is The Hindu Holi Festival

Learn what is hte hindu Holi festival. This festival is celebrated by all ages and it has an interesting legend behind it.

The "˜Holi' festival is a very fun-filled and popular occasion in the northern part of India. It is an occasion when people smear each other with bright colored powders, which are known as Gulal, and colored water. This festival is celebrated around early March each year. It can be said that "˜Holi' festival is called a bright festival as a wide range of bright colors is used during it. The people believe that the bright colors represent energy, life, and joy.

Legend

There are many legends given as the reason for celebrating "˜Holi'. There is one popular legend that is reputed to bring about the birth of "˜Holi'. It seems that long ago there was an evil king named King Hiranyakasipu. His son, prince Prahlad however was very holy and often prayed to God and this infuriated his father. One day, the wicked king ordered his sister, the demon Holika, to kill his son. The demon Holika, who was immune to fire, captured prince Prahlad and entered a fire furnace. She had done this to kill the prince, however it was her who was burnt to ashes. Prince Prahlad was safe and was not burnt at all. The legend goes that before the demon aunt died, she begged for prince Prahlad's forgiveness and the prince forgave her and announced that her name would be remembered once a year. Thus the festival "˜Holi' was created.

There is also another story behind the festival of "˜Holi' and it is based on the everlasting love between Krishna and Radha. It seemed that in the Hindu mythology Lord Krishna was known to court Radha and the light-hearted mischievous courtship of his was linked to Holi. Thus Holi is known to be the celebration of love between the two of them.



Celebrations

To start off the festival, preparations are usually made on the eve of Holi: huge bonfires are burnt as a symbol of its representation. These fires are created to ward off evil spirits around the place.

'Holi' is grandly celebrated in villages around Mathura, the place where Krishna is said to be born. Before the start of the festival, shops are busy selling "˜Gulal,' the colored powders, and it is no surprise that the shops are flooded with festive shoppers. In preparation for the festival, new clothes are also bought for the family: it is a tradition for mothers to buy new clothes for their married daughters.

On "˜Holi', mothers let their children go out on the streets to indulge in the splashing of colors. Men like to wear white "˜Kurtas' while ladies prefer to wear white saris, or "˜Salwar Khameez,' on 'Holi'.

One thing that is very attractive about this festival is the spirit of the people who celebrate the occasion.

Whether they are young or old, all the people are lost in the joyful occasion, having fun throwing colors at each other. Even water balloons would be thrown at each other.

When they splash colored water on passer-bys, it is common for the passer-bys to get involved in the color riots themselves. Even kids love this festival, as they enjoy being drenched in colored water.

On this happy occasion, dances and folk songs are also important features in the festival.

© High Speed Ventures 2011