The Festival of colors i.e Holi is one of the major festivals of India. It is celebrated with lot of joy and enthusiasm on the full moon day in the month of Phalgun. Entire country wears a festive look for this day. Markets are flooded with colors, pichkaris and of course Gujiya. Generally it’s a two day festival but somewhere it goes for a week-long celebration.
Holi get its mythological significance from the legend of Prahlad and Hiranyakashyap. A devil and powerful king, Hiranyakshyap considered himself a god and wanted everybody to worship him. To his great ire, his son, Prahlad began to worship, Lord Vishnu. This was a great setback for Hiranyakashyap so to get rid of his son, he asked his sister, Holika to enter a blazing fire with Prahlad in her lap, as she had a boon to enter fire unscathed. Legend has it that Prahlad was saved for his extreme devotion for the lord while Holika paid a price for her sinister desire. The tradition of burning Holika or the ‘Holikadahan’ comes mainly from this legend.
Holi is also celebrated in some places, especially at Mathura and Vrindavan due to the legend of Lord Krishna and Radha which describes the extreme delight, Krishna took in applying colour on Radha and other gopis. Down Southanother legend of Holi which is extremely popular is that of Lord Shiva and Kaamadeva. According to the legend, people there celebrate the sacrifice of Lord of Passion Kaamadeva who risked his life to revoke Lord Shiva from meditation and save the world.
Holi has another significance i.e people from all walks of life come together and heartily enjoy the festival. People forget all their past differences and celebrate it with love and enthusiasm.
Shipra Chauhan is studying LL.M at South Asian University, New Delhi, India.
HOLI @ SAU