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Why Is Holi Celebrated?

holi

The festival of colors, Holi is celebrated all throughout India and several international locations as well. It is celebrated on the full moon day during spring season, anytime between February and March. The way of celebrating Holi varies from state to state and even the names are different in different communities. However, the most popular theme is colors and enjoying good food is common to all communities. To better understand the festival of Holi and its significance let’s answer some key questions that people generally have about this joyous festival of colors.

Why is Holi celebrated?

There are many theories, as to why Holi is celebrated. Some of the predominant ones are described below.

Legend of devil king Hiranyakashipu: As per traditional folklore, there once lived a devil king named Hiranyakashipu, who was conceited to believe that he was God. Hiranyakashipu had done hard penance to Lord Brahma, after which he was granted the boon that made him nearly indestructible. With realization that he may have become immortal, Hiranyakashipu was gripped by a false sense of pride. He thought he was the most superior person in the world, even greater than God. He became very cruel and caused a lot of pain to the people of this world.

However, Hiranyakashipu’s son Prahlad did not accept the notion that his father was God. Prahlad was a devotee of Lord Vishnu and he believed that only Vishnu was the supreme God. This angered Hiranyakashipu, who decided to kill his own son. After several attempts failed, Hiranyakashipu conspired with his sister (Holika) to kill Prahlad. Holika had the boon that she can never be harmed by fire, so she took Prahlad to a pyre and lit it. However, with the blessing of Vishnu, Prahlad escaped unhurt, whereas Holika was burned to ashes. Holika had forgotten that her powers won’t work if she used it to hurt someone. Later, Lord Vishnu took the avatar of Narasimha, half man and half lion, and killed Hiranyakashipu with his claws at the doorstep, when it was evening.

So, according to this story, Holi is the celebration of victory of good over evil. This is directly linked to Holika Dahen, which is part of Holi celebrations and is organized a day before Holi.

Radha-Krishna love: It is said that Krishna, an avatar of Lord Vishnu, was dark-complexioned and had developed an inferiority complex because of it. He was envious of fair-skinned Radha and other gopis in the village. When he discussed this with his mother, he was playfully told to apply color to Radha’s face, so he won’t feel inferior anymore. Krishna took this literally and applied color to Radha’s face, and since then Holi came to be celebrated as the festival of colors. According to this story, Holi is the festival of love that prompts people to forget their differences.

Kamadeva story: In some communities, Holi is celebrated to signify the resurrection of Kamadeva, the god of love. It is believed that Kamadeva risked his life to invoke passion inside Lord Shiva. When Kamadeva shot Lord Shiva with his love arrow, it greatly angered Shiva. Lord Shiva opened his third eye and Kamadeva was burned to ashes in an instant. However, after Kamadeva’s wife Rati pleaded for mercy, Lord Shiva resurrected Kamadeva and blessed the couple. With Kamadeva’s resurrection, the world started to bloom again, which began to be celebrated as the festival of Holi.

When is Holi 2019

Since the day of Holi festival keeps changing every year, people generally ask on which date Holi will be celebrated. In 2019, Holi will be celebrated from March 20 to March 21. March 20 will be the Holika Dahen whereas March 21 will be the main festival of Holi. However, dates may vary in different states.

What is significance of Holi?

Holi signifies several different things and it varies from community to community. One of the predominant significance of Holi is the victory of good over evil. Holi also signifies universal love that exists between all entities of this world. Holi is also celebrated as the arrival of spring season, when flowers start to bloom and new leaves start to grow after the cold winters. In some rural communities, Holi is associated with spring harvest.

With fun, merriment and love at its core, the festival of Holi is gaining popularity all across the globe. It’s not just Indians, but foreigners as well who have started to enjoy this festival of colors to the fullest. Holi is the one day when you can forget your pains and embrace your enemies. It’s the time to let go, have fun with family and friends and try the most delectable sweets and snacks.

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