The Indian subcontinent has stood for the good over the evil from the ancient times. One such globally known festival that marks the end of the evil, its celebration and festivity is Holi. Holi also symbolizes the auspicious new beginning. The main Holi event is for a single day, but the spirit, brief prayers and preparations, called Chooti Holi begin one day prior to the main Holi celebration day. The short evening-night ritual called Holika Dahan also falls on this day which involves lighting a bonfire. Many natives significantly also put wheat twigs in the bonfire.
The word Holi comes out of the name Holika. In one of the legends, from the ancient Vedic scriptures, Bhagavad Purana, Holika was a demoness. Holika was the sister of the over arrogant King Hiranyakashipu, a Demon King, who had the immortal boon from the supreme deity Lord Brahma. King Hiranyakashipu’s son Prahlad worshiped Lord Vishnu. The King was against this and wanted Prahlad to worship him as a God instead of Lord Vishnu. On continuous refusal, King Hiranyakashipu made several attempts to kill his son Prahlad but did not succeed.
King Hiranyakashipu then called upon his sister Holika to help him kill Prahlad. Holika had the boon not to burn by fire. She tricked and put Prahlad in her lap, and sat in the fire. However, as she was using her fire-resistant powers for an evil purpose, the power was nullified by the God, and Prahlad also survived under the protection of Lord Vishnu. Later, Lord Vishnu also killed the demon King Hiranyakashipu cleverly. Prahlad ruled the Kingdom as a wise King.
The Gregorian calendar date of the Holi festival may vary every year. The date is determined according to the Hindu calendar. Holi falls in the Hindu calendar month of Phalguna, and the full moon night in it, called Purnima. As it is Purnima has special significance. Every year, the Holi festival falls in the Gregorian February-March period.
Holi is a holiday across India and Nepal. In India, though it is under the category of the restricted national holiday, it is regarded as a complete holiday for all, whether Government or private organizations and celebrated in almost all parts of India.
Holi also marks the spring season harvest festival. On the day of Holi, many natives gather in their residential areas or respective homes or visit friends or relatives’ places. Colors, colored powder, water, buckets, plastic water guns etc are used to put on each other, as part of the celebration. There are other activities, such as, dancing, games, elders’ drinking of Bhang- made out of cannabis, preparation of special traditional sweets like Gunjiya etc. Special snack food feat items like curd-Dahi Vada, Papri Chaat etc are also prepared.
We wish all natives a Very Happy Holi.
A Mantra for Lord Vishnu is -
Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya
ॐ नमो भगवते वासुदेवाय
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