Holi- the festival of colors
Holi is one of the major festivals of India and is celebrated on different dates every year. This great Indian festival is observed at the end of the winters in the month of March after the full Moon. A day before Holi a large bonfire is lit that helps in burning out the evil spirits and that whole process is called as Holika Dahan.
It is highly prohibited to perform the bonfire of the Holika Dahan before the Sunset as that can be not really be the cause for bringing in a lot of misfortune in life. It must be performed on a specific time on the Purnima Tithi only after the Sunset. It is very important to choose a good Muhurat in order to perform the ritual of Holika Dahan. Ideally it must be performed on Pradosh Kaal when the night and day are believed to meet each other.
It is prohibited to perform the ritual of Holika Dahan until the Bhadra Tithi. Also, the the exact time for the same varies from state to state all over in India.
On the day of Holika dahan, a special type of Puja has to be performed so as to keep children and the other family members in good of the health and keep away from them all types of evils.
The celebration of Holika Dahan is carried out in order in the remembrance of the Holika. In an attempt to fulfil the wish of her demon brother Holika tried to sit in the fire and burn him as he worshipped Lord Vishnu and not her brother. As she had that blessing of not getting affected by the fire so she sat with Prahalada in the fire. But, because of the great devotion of Prahalada, he was saved and Holika was burnt to death.
On the day of Holi, people enjoy by splashing colors over each other and they also play with liquid colors. This part of playing with colours goes on till the end of the afternoon and from the evening people start off with preparing delicious meals.
Also in various parts of the country Holi is celebrated in different way and with different names.
Holi celebration in Vrindavan is a week-long celebration and that it starts with the Phoolon wali Holi that starts by splashing flowers at the Banke Bihari temple in Vrindavan during Aanola Ekadasi.
There is the tradition of beating up the men by women in the village of Nandgaon and Barsana which is performed a week before the Holi celebration.
Holi was originally a festival to celebrate the start of Spring, good harvests and fertility of the land. The first mentions of it date back to a poem from the 4th century.
Today it is better known as a symbolic commemoration of a legend from Hindu Mythology. Holi is marked by colourful parades accompanied by folk songs, dances and a general sense of relaxed fun.
Nowadays Holi is an excuse for young Indians to shed their inhibitions and caste differences for a day of fun. Teenagers spend the day flirting and misbehaving in the streets, and everyone chases everyone else around, throwing brightly colored powder and water over each other.
The tradition of throwing brightly coloured powder and water is said to come from the love story between two Hindu gods, Radha and Krishna. Krishna is famously depicted as having bright blue skin and the legend has it that he was sad he didn't have a fair complexion like Radha. He told his mother about this and she suggested that instead of wishing for fair skin, he should instead smear Radha with paint, so they both have coloured skin; hence the tradition of trying to 'colour' others as a sign of affection at Holi.
The main colours of the powders have symbolic meanings. Blue represents Krishna, Red represents love and fertility, green symbolises spring and new growth and yellow is the colour of turmeric, a spice native to India and a natural remedy.
The festival begins on the night of the full moon. Fires are lit on street corners to cleanse the air of evil spirits and bad vibes, and to symbolize the destruction of the wicked Holika, after whom the festival was named.
The following morning, the streets fill with people running, shouting, giggling and splashing.