Bright shimmering colours, water balloons, water guns and thandai- all these are synonymous with Holi. Today is the festival of colours where people from all corners of the country come together to rejoice and celebrate. This is the time when the air is filled with colours and all streets and lanes are drowned in merry making.
Amidst all the fun and fiesta, let’s take some time to see how it all began and all other interesting facts about this colourful festival.
Origin of Holi is intertwined with two mythological tales. Firstly, demon king Hiranyakashyap asked sister Holika to kill his son Prahlad. Holika sat with Prahlad in fire as she was tolerant of the same. However, when Prahlad started praying to Lord Vishnu, he was saved and rather Holika was burnt to ashes.
The other tale is the celebrated love story of Radha-Krishna. Krishna being dark in complexion felt the comparatively fairer Radha wouldn’t accept his love. Hence he smeared Radha’s face with colours and thus the celebration of Holi started.
South Indians have a different take on Holi. They attribute the festival to the sacrifice of Lora Kamdeva, who risked his life to revoke Lord Shiva from meditation and rescue the world.
Holi is celebrated at its magnum opus in Mathura and Vrindavan with celebrations starting a week prior to Holi. Locals not only indulge in a splash of colours but also play with bamboo sticks and shields which is popularly known as Lathmar Holi. Not only this, people in Vrindavan also dedicate a day to playing Holi with flowers.
Holi shatters discrimination and breaks all age old customs. It’s one of a kind festival that brings together people of all religions together for merry making.
From 2013 onwards, widowers in Vrindavan started playing Holi two days prior to the festival. Staying true to its essence, Holi once again broke old age conventions as it encourages all souls to indulge in fun and laughter.
Nepal too has a full fledged week dedicated to Holi. They dress up a bamboo pole in colorful clothes a week prior to Holi, and then burn it on the occasion of Holika dahan.
The celebration is not only limited to India and its neighboring countries. People from USA and some parts of Europe also celebrate Holi like any other festival of theirs.