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HISTORY OF HOLI

HOLI : FESTIVAL OF COLOURS


Holi ( originally known as holika ) is a popular and one of the most joyfully celebrated ancient Hindu festival, also known as the Festival of Love . The festival celebrates the eternal and divine love of Radha Krishna . Lord Krishna started the tradition of playing with colours by applying colour on his beloved Radha and other gopis. Gradually, the play gained popularity with the people and became a tradition.

The festivals finds a detailed description in early religious works such as Jaimini's Purvamimamsa-Sutras and Kathaka-Grhya-Sutras. Historians also believe that Holi was celebrated by all Aryans but more so in the Eastern part of India .




STORY BEHIND HOLI


The literal meaning of the word 'Holi' is 'burning'. There are various legends to explain the meaning of this word, most prominent of all is the legend associated with demon king Hiranyakashyap.

Hiranyakashyap wanted everybody in his kingdom to worship only him but to his great disappointment, his son, Prahlad became an ardent devotee of Lord Narayana.



Hiaranyakashyap commanded his sister, Holika to enter a blazing fire with Prahlad in her lap. Holika had a boon whereby she could enter fire without any damage on herself. However, she was not aware that the boon worked only when she enters the fire alone. As a result she paid a price for her sinister desires, while Prahlad was saved by the grace of the god for his extreme devotion. The festival, therefore, celebrates the victory of good over evil and also the triumph of devotion.It originated and is predominantly celebrated in India but has also spread to other regions of Asian parts of the western world .


HOW IS IT CELEBRATED


There are two main parts to the festival of Holi. The first part is called Holika Dahan and falls on the night of the full moon during the month of Phalguna, which falls between February and March. Bonfires that have been built with an effigy of Holika on top are lit, recalling the moment that Holika perished in the flames while Prahlada survived. The following day, people gather outside to sing, dance and throw coloured powder and squirt coloured water at one another, which recalls the moment when Krishna rubbed coloured powder onto Radha’s skin. It is a day of fun and jollity when traditional social conventions are disregarded.



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