Holi Festival – Bestowing colors and hues of joy to lives
Holi is the festival of colours that is celebrated almost all over India with different names. It is believed to be celebrated by all Aryans but more auspiciously celebrated in the eastern part of India. The roots of the festival can be traced in early religious works such as Jaimini’s Purvamimamsa- Sutras and kathaka – Grhya- sutras.
The history behind the other names of this festival
There are other names of the festival such as Vasant Mahotsava and kama – Mahotsava because the festival marks the commencement of spring season.
In the parts of Bengal and Orissa, Holi Purnima is celebrated as the birthday of Shri Chaitanya Maha Prabhu (A.D 1486–1533).
Other legends associated with the festival are a legend of Shiva and Kamadeva, Ogress Dhundhi and Pootana.
All the tales convey and depict the message of triumph of good over evil lending a philosophy to this festival of joy which was also celebrated with great affection in the legend of Lord Krishna. He used to play Holi with his beloved Radha and other Gopis. This ages old tradition gain popularity and it became the current face of Holi.
Dating back to the 16th century
The celebration of Holi also finds a reference in sculptures, paintings and detailed description in Vedas and Puranas which suggest that this great festival of joy and colors was not celebrated only by the Hindus but also by the Muslims.
Holikotsav has special mention in the write-ups of famous Muslim tourist to India- Ulbaruni.
A famous sculpture in the Temple at Hampi, capital of Vijayanagar, dating back to 16th century, has beautiful carving on its walls depicting the joyous scene of Holi celebration among the prince and his princess along with their maids.
The legend of Hiranyakashyap and Prahlad fortifies the fact that extreme devotion by Bhagat Prahlad toward God results in ultimate victory over evil. This festival is celebrated when the fields are fully flourished with the expectation of good harvest, giving people a reason to rejoice and make merry.
Holi in contemporary India
Holi is celebrated all over India with great enthusiasm. Gulaal, abeer, water guns ( pichkaris) are synonymous with this festival of colors which symbolizes love and affection actually. Loud music, colored waters, gujiyas, and other sweets enhance the festivity of the big day.
Well-known Holi as celebrated in various parts of India
Holi in Barsana, the birthplace of goddess Radha need special mentioning when it comes to playing Holi as it is called here as Lathmaar Holi. A sort of mock battle takes place here when men come fully padded and the local women give them good thrashing to avoid them from painting them.
As a punishment for trying to molest women, the captured men are made to wear female attire and dance in public in joyous spirits. Poets like Surdas and other renowned poets have mentioned in their verses that even Lord Krishna received similar treatment of being forced to don the sari and wore makeup of a female to perform a dance before the Gopis.
A celebration of Holi continues here in different Krishna temples for around a week and the entire venue is filled with a cloud of colors and fun.
- In Delhi, Holi is celebrated with smacking food like Puran poli, chaat, Samosa, Dahi vallah and special drink known as ‘thandai’ along with the endless parties and music. Different places organizes the variety of Holi celebration with a variety of delicacies for delight such as Holy Indian color festival celebrated at Golden Triangle tourist circuit, New Delhi. Unite Holi music festival takes place in the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Holy Sangria is hosted in Gurugram and many more.
- Holi in Goa is called as Shigmo. During this festival, Goans enact mythology religiously with vibrant colors of gulal and neel (Indigo). This celebration of the festival of spring here is followed with parade, processions, and performances.
- Holi in Maharashtra and Gujarat are celebrated in their own grand style where it is popularly called as Shimga or Rangpanchami.
Colors are played on the day of Rangpanchami that comes five days after Falguni Poornima. People burn effigies of Holika, enjoy sugar cane juice drink besides enjoying delicacies such as Puran Poli. A great tradition of breaking ‘Dahi Handi’ is also witnessed in the state in which trained youth groups participate to form huge human pyramids and break the pot of buttermilk hung high on the street. To deter them from doing so, women folk throw colored water on them. The winner tolis earns prize announced by various big brands, businesses or political parties.
Holi around the world
- The festival of Holi is celebrated not in India alone but this festival of a triumph of good over evil is celebrated abroad also. In Guyana, the North-East Coast of South America, Holi is celebrated by singing special songs called Chowtaals. Water, powder color and burning of Holika, a castor oil plant, marks the celebration of the festival here.
- Thailand has its own way of celebrating the festival of Holi called a Songkran festival here. As a tribute to Lord Buddha, people here dress up in colorful attire or wear traditional Thai dresses; clean their houses, visit temples, and offer food to Buddhist monks. They also poured water on Buddha statues. Unlike India, it is celebrated here in the month of April from 13 to 15 dates every year. The three-day festival marks the second day as National family day when the people feel like doing good deeds and a lot of charity. Also called as a Spring Cleaning day, Songkran is one of the most auspicious occasions in Thailand on which people feel like doing away with their useless or old things which are no longer useful as they believed them to bring in bad luck. They make resolutions, do a lot of charity, wash Lord Buddha idols and seek blessings of elders on this special day.
List of eternal Holi songs that are a must-play at every party
- Raang Barse- Holi Full Song | Silsila
- ARE JA RE HAT NATKHAT,AYA HOLI –
- Badri Ki Dulhania Title Song –
- Holi Aayi Re Kanhai (Video Song) | Mother India
- Balam Pichkari |Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani
- Layi Hai Hazaron Rang Holi-
- Holi ke din| Sholay
- Jai Jai Shiv Shankar
- Bhagi Re Bhagi Brij Bala
- Aaj Na Chodenge
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