Holi – Festival Of Colors

One of the most important hindu festivals, holi embodies all the festivity, liveliness and exuberance of spring season. The cheerful faces smeared with colors and flower extracts look not much different from the blooming blossoms. The fragrance and the romanticism of the season touch all hearts. It is the festival of letting go of what has already passed and awaken the hopes and strengthen our ties with our friends and loved ones. Holi is a festival of pranks. Particularly the youth go around the villages and communities, playing colors and pranks, shouting ‘bura na mano, holi hai!’ (don’t be angry, it’s holi!).

Often associated with the love-play of naughty krishna, his beloved radha and the cowherd boyss and maids known as ‘gopis’, holi is the day for young hearts. Spraying colors, dancing on traditional holi songs, rhythmic drum beats and wild processions are the common scenes that one comes across during this festival. Humor poems are recited and jokes are told as people gorge on ghujias and enjoy the intoxicating cool thandai. This year, holi will be celebrated on 22nd of march 2008. Come and experience the enthusiasm with us as we bring all that is exciting in holi, just for you.

Legend of holi

Bhakt Prahlad & Holika

There was a mighty demon king named hirnakashyipu who had won all the three worlds of heaven, earth and hell and had thus, become very proud. He assumed that he could defeat even lord vishnu with his valor. He went to the extent that he had enforced a law that everybody would worship him instead of gods and deities. However, his little son prahlad refused to accept his commands and continued to worship lord vishnu with complete devotion. Infuriated by this defiance of his son, he ordered his soldiers to throw him down a hill. Praying fervently and having full faith in lord vishnu, prahlad did not retract from his word. True to his faith, lord vishnu rescued him at the last moment.

Flustered by this news, hirnakashyipu invoked the help of his sister holika, who had a boon that she could walk through the fire unharmed to do away with his son. The wicked aunt agreed to the evil desires of his brother and entered the fire with her nephew prahlad. However, the brother and sister had forgotten that holika could only enter the fire alone or she would perish. Thus, blessed by lord vishnu, the child prahlad remained unharmed but holika got burnt and died instantly. Holi is thus celebrated to commemorate the death of the evil aunt, after whom the festival is named, and the new life granted to prahlad for his devotion and faith.

Love play of Radha & Krishna

Lord krishna has often been portrayed as a naughty prankster in his childhood and a lover-boy in his youth. His beloved radha and the cowherd girls ‘gopis’ in general loved him even more for his pranks and eve teasing. The holi of braj is famous all over india for its intimate connection with the divine deities and their love plays. It is said that when krishna was a young boy, he asked the reason for his dark color while radha was so fair. His mother yashoda playfully suggested that he should smear color on radha’s face too and change her complexion to any color he wanted. Captivated by the idea, krishna proceeded to do so and thus, introduced the play of colors on holi.

Sacrifice of Kamadeva

According to hindu mythology, the world is looked after the trinity of gods – lord brahma, the creator; lord vishnu, the nurturer; and lord shiva, the destroyer. According to a legend, goddess sati, the daughter of daksha prajapati, one of the first sons of lord brahma, married lord shiva against the wishes of her father. Thus, daksha did not invite her and her husband to a grand yagya arranged by him. When sati came to know about the event in her father’s house, she thought it to be a slip of mind and proceeded to participate in the event despite the warnings of her husband. But once she reached there, she realized her fault and was infuriated by the insult of her husband. As a penance for her disobedience, she entered the fire. When lord shiva came to know of her sudden demise, he was furious. Even after he controlled his anger, he started a severe meditation and renounced all work.

The world’s balance soon crumbled in his absence and sati took rebirth as goddess parvati to try and win lord shiva’s heart and wake him up from his trance. She tried all ways to get the attention of shiva. When she had exhausted all her feminine ways, she invoked the help of kamadava, the indian cupid-god, who agreed to help her in the cause of the world despite the risks involved. He shot his love-arrow on shiva’s heart. Disturbed in his trance, lord shiva opened his third eye that fired anger and instantly incinerated kamadeva. It is said that it was on the day of holi that kamadeva had sacrificed himself for the good of all beings. Later, when lord shiva realized his mistake, he granted kamadeva immortality in invisible form. To this day, people offer sandalwood paste to kamadeva to relieve from his stinging burns and mango blossoms that he loved on holi.